World T20 2014 news March 26, 2014

India likely to persist with Yuvraj

India do not like to give any clues about their possible combination even in press conferences, so on a non-match, non-press conference day, you can only depend on whatever you can glean by watching them practise. It has to be said that with two wins in their first two games in the World T20, against Pakistan and West Indies, there is also no real, pressing need to tinker with the playing XI.

The bowling has been an unexpected and massive positive, setting up both victories. The quicks have played their part, as have the spinners. The top-order batsmen have motored to the moderate targets they have been handed, and the rest of the line-up has not been required. Shikhar Dhawan did fall for a duck against West Indies in a manner that may cause some concern if he continues to get cramped for room on the back foot against spin, but it was a poor decision foremost with the ball comfortably sliding down leg.

The major talking point has been the form of Yuvraj Singh, who fell second ball against Pakistan and scratched to 10 off 19 against West Indies, in addition to putting down a couple of critical chances, and has generally appeared to be short on confidence.

If one goes by this afternoon's training session, Yuvraj will likely have another chance to get going against Bangladesh on Friday. Yuvraj was one of the first batsmen to start padding up for a stint in the nets, while his possible replacement and the only reserve specialist batsman in the squad Ajinkya Rahane waited for quite some time in a nearby chair, as has often been the case for non-first choice players in the squad during coach Duncan Fletcher's tenure.

Even legspinner Amit Mishra walked up to the nets to have a hit with the bat before Rahane, and it was only towards the end of the session that Rahane finally got up and donned his gear. The majority of his time was spent in the side net receiving throwdowns from fielding coach Trevor Penney's sidearm device, and most of the Indian specialist bowlers had been done with their bowling workouts by then.

Yuvraj had had a few short sessions of batting in the meanwhile and also proceeded to bowl for a while, strutting around slowly as he usually does. Who knows we may still have a surprise in store from MS Dhoni come Friday, but going by this afternoon's proceedings, India's thinking seems to be to keep the faith in their senior player.

Abhishek Purohit is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments