India news August 10, 2012

Yuvraj named in T20 squad, Rohit dropped from Test team

ESPNcricinfo staff

India batsman Yuvraj Singh has been named in India's T20 squad for the home series against New Zealand and the ICC World Twenty20 next month in Sri Lanka, marking a return to cricket after battling with cancer. VVS Laxman, Ishant Sharma, Cheteshwar Pujara, Piyush Chawla and Ajinkya Rahane have been included for the home Tests against New Zealand later this month. Rohit Sharma has been left out of the Test squad after a lean period with the bat.

Yuvraj, who last played for India during the home Tests against West Indies, was passed fit when the selection committee met in Mumbai to pick the respective squads. During his recovery from cancer, Yuvraj said last month that Twenty20 would be ideal format to mark his return to competitive cricket. However, he was picked despite lacking in match practice.

The Twenty20 squad had a few surprises, most notably the recall of the legspinner Chawla (in both squads), offspinner Harbhajan Singh and the seamer L Balaji. Chawla last played for India during the 2011 World Cup, and his previous Test goes back a further three years. Balaji, who suffered career-threatening injuries through the previous decade, last played for India in 2009. What may have boosted his selection was a successful IPL 2012, during which he played a key role in Kolkata Knight Riders' title win.

Harbhajan was dropped after failing to make an impression on the tours of West Indies and England last year. His form in domestic cricket wasn't encouraging either. He was ignored for the Tests, but the T20s will give him a chance to stage a comeback in all three formats. He also lends experience to India's spin attack.

Laxman's future as a Test batsman was in doubt after a poor tour of Australia, where he only managed 155 runs in eight innings. Rohit did not get a chance in any of those games, but Rahul Dravid's retirement opened the door not just for him but for a few other young batsmen hoping to break into the Test team. However, Rohit failed to make a mark in the recently concluded limited-overs series in Sri Lanka, possibly jeopardising his Test selection. Pujara's batting for India A in the West Indies made it hard for the selectors to ignore him. He was already earmarked as a Test middle-order prospect.

Rahane, who sparkled during the IPL, was left out of the Twenty20 squad but included for the Tests as a reserve opener. Ishant too returns from a layoff, after skipping the IPL to recover from an ankle surgery. Suresh Raina is back in India's Test plans, after being ignored for the Australia tour.

Kris Srikkanth, in his last selection meeting as chairman of selectors, said: "We have picked the best possible Test team. We looked at the conditions (in Sri Lanka) for the World T20. We feel that we have picked a team that will win us the World Cup. We are very happy Yuvi (Yuvraj) has been declared fit. In 2011 World Cup, he was the Man of the Series. He is a crucial factor from India's point of view."

This selection marks the end of a long and traumatic period for Yuvraj. His issues began with breathing difficulties, nausea and bouts of vomiting blood during India's successful run through the 2011 World Cup, which he ended as the player of the tournament. Six months later he was diagnosed with a rare for of cancer - mediastinal seminoma - and subsequently underwent chemotherapy in the US. He returned to India in April and began training at the NCA in Bangalore in June.

India play two Tests and two Twenty20s against New Zealand before heading to Sri Lanka for the World Twenty20.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on August 13, 2012, 19:56 GMT

    Is Mr.Nohit Sharma a permanent member in the team?

  • Dummy4 on August 13, 2012, 17:58 GMT

    For T20 WC instead of Rohit better to select Ambati Rayadu or Manvinder Bisla. They are better option than Rohit and they can keep which would helpful to Dhoni. Rohit should go and play First Class Cricket to gain his confidence like last year.

  • Dummy4 on August 13, 2012, 9:45 GMT

    Frankly regarding the Test Team I do not understand a thing. I genuinely believe that MS Dhoni, R.Ashwin & I. Pathan are the most capable players batting at No. 6, 7 & 8 against the Kiwis in the upcoming tour. It would have given ample chance to play 2 good seamers, read Zaheer and either of Umesh Yadav or Praveen Kumar, and a better attacking spinner than Ashwin in Pragyan Ojha. The backup spinner could have been either Rahul Sharma or Amit Mishra. Ishant Sharma and Piyush Chawla are wrong selections.Then my top 5 would have been - Sehwag, Gambhir, Laxman, Tendulkar and Kohli. But Dhoni has always been uncomfortable with 5 bowlers. In that case I think either of R.Ashwin/I.Pathan should be sacrificed for C.Pujara. A.Rahaney along with S.Badrinath or even W.Saha could have been the extra batsmen. There was no place for Raina too.

  • Sai on August 12, 2012, 22:39 GMT

    @landl47 - Oh please. Ajinkya Rahane is a perfect example for what you said. He has proven that T20 does not necessarily require slogging, and that you can score heavily with a good technique. I would like to rate him as India's Mahela Jayawardene. We have plenty of talent to come after Sehwag, Tendulkar, VVS and Zaheer retire. I'm VERY disappointed that the selectors did not choose Irfan Pathan for the Tests after that awesome show in Sri Lanka.

  • Vivek on August 12, 2012, 22:01 GMT

    Harbhajan, Piyush, and Balaji don't deserve a place in the team! Ojha and Rahul Sharma should have been retained. Praveen Kumar should have been in Balaji place (The ball swings a lot in SL)

  • Randolph on August 12, 2012, 12:45 GMT

    Harbahjan? Oh no, HUGE blow for India.

  • Saravjit on August 12, 2012, 12:17 GMT

    For all those Talking about VVS Remember it was VVS who was responsible for all those indian Wins in South Africa and Australia ( Joburg 2006 , Durban 2010 , adelaide 2004 , Sydney 2008 ) Also Remember Mohali 2010 , Colombo 2010 , Calcutta 2010 VVS did badly in these 2 Series and India Lost Badly so much is the Reliance on VVS. Dravid was Superflop from 2006-2010 What about that Has any other Indian Batsman won Matches Singlehandedly He Deserves a Heros Retirement , Be Gracious

  • John on August 12, 2012, 5:00 GMT

    When those in their late 30s (Tendulkar, Laxman) and those in their mid-thirties (Sehwag, Zaheer) are gone, what's left? Not very much. Already we're seeing comments about players being picked because they did well in the IPL. How many test defeats does it take before India learns that T20 cricket destroys the techniques of both batsmen and bowlers? I watched two balls of the IPL this year. Dhoni played the second of these by opening his front foot to point at mid-wicket, going down on one knee and hitting with his bat horizontal at a straight, medium-pace ball on off-stump, which comprehensively bowled him. Dhoni's shot was appalling and the bowler did nothing but bowl straight- no pace, no swing, no seam. Maybe that works in the IPL, but in test cricket? India is in for a long, hard road.

  • Rahul on August 12, 2012, 4:41 GMT

    ok agreed may be they have picked laxman giving him a good platform to retire in front of home crowd but why chawla i mean most of his deliveries dont even reach the batsman fully(how can one forget when flintoff was toying and hitting his deleveries for maximum in test series in india),he balls short,lacks variety,does not want to learn from his mistakes,mishra would have been a better choice but no they want chawla to score a hundred like bhajji did last time against the similar opposition, when all the stalwarts fail(which would be very rare) at least in india against an. Chawla has benifitted from his friendship with dhoni,guys dont be surprised if rp singh is even back for the next series against england and austrailia, Thankfully this was chika's final series as chairman of selectors. I had been a great fan of his attacking batting but now is batting on a sticky wicket. one thing most of us would agree that dhoni had been an apple of his eye.Both have'nt let each other down.

  • Rahul on August 12, 2012, 4:22 GMT

    again a biased selection what is laxman doing after a dismal (to say the least) outing in england and austrailia how long will he regain his place in the squad just on that epic 281 needs to be seen.Frankly speaking the selectors lack the outlook and the courage to pick a team on merit,when it comes to taking a stand on the tainted players they are a different bunch of people but its a complete U-turn in the case of selection matters.This was an ideal series to blood new players,some of the experienced players who have nothing else to prove in the domestic circuit (badrinath,kaif,parvinder aawana to name a few) a much needed longer run.But what did they do they again pick lackluster laxman,chawla.

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