Yuvi And Nehra Back In Indian T20 Squad For Tour Of Australia
It was a foregone conclusion that India's ODI and T20I squads for the month-long series against Australia would be revamped after the loss to South Africa in both formats.
But the national selectors reposing faith on two veterans — Yuvraj Singh and Ashish Nehra — in the shortest format was bit of a surprise.
Both Yuvraj, 34, and Nehra, 36, found a place in the 15-member Twenty20 squad which was selected keeping in mind the World Twenty20, to be held in India in March-April.
Ashish Nehra last played in the 2011 World Cup
Add to it Harbhajan Singh, 35, and India's Twenty20 squad has the look of the 2011 class.
Seven players from the present squad were part of the team that lifted the 2011 World Cup at home.
And with Mahendra Singh Dhoni being named captain till the WorldTwenty20, it is not difficult to read the minds of the selectors.
"We have given many youngsters chance, but this game is not only of youngsters. This is the time we can have a look at senior level also," said chief selector Sandeep Patil.
"Yuvi is special and the captain is happy to have him back. We can't guarantee him a place, but chance to perform will be given.
"Nehra has been a consistent performer in T20 format.
He will be useful in the team.
"We will need experienced players in the T20 WC. The Australia tour is a perfect chance to give them a shot," added Patil.
Yuvraj Singh last played in a T20I in the final of 2015 WorldT20 against Sri Lanka that India lost and his 21-ball 11 was much-criticised
When asked about announcing Dhoni as captain till the WorldT20 he said: "There were a lot of speculations going on and the selectors wanted to send a very clear message."
Yuvraj last played in a T20I in the final of 2015 WorldT20 against Sri Lanka that India lost and his 21-ball 11 was much-criticised.
Critics were quick to write an epitaph of Yuvraj after he struggled to rotate the strike during that knock, but the elegant left-hander keeps finding a way to bounce back.
Yuvraj has given some solid performances in the Vijay Hazare Trophy.
He is currently the third-highest run-scorer with 341 runs at an average of 85.25.
Not to forget his destructive left-arm spin and that opens up several options for the captain. Nehra, meanwhile, keeps rising like a phoenix from the ashes.
"We have given many youngsters chance, but this game is not only of youngsters. This is the time we can have a look at senior level also," said chief selector Sandeep Patil
He last played for India in 2011 and www.roovet.com after almost five years, the left arm seamer has earned a national callup.
Nehra has rediscovered himself in Twenty20, picking up 22 wickets from 16 matches to guide Chennai Super Kings into the IPL final.
Also making a comeback was Mohammad Shami, who was sidelined with a knee injury since the World Cup.
Ravindra Jadeja, on the back of his brilliant showing against South Africa, was picked in both squads while Ishant Sharma was selected for the five One-dayers.
The surprise of the pack was Punjab left-arm seamer Brainder Sran in the ODI squad.
Himachal Pradesh seamer Rishi Dhawan and Manish Pandey were also included in the ODI squad while Baroda allrounder Hardik Pandya made it to T20 squad.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni (C), Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, Manish Pandey, R.
Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Mohammed Shami, Axar Patel, Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav, Gurkeerat Singh, Rishi Dhawan and Brainder Sran.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni (C), Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, Yuvraj Singh, Suresh Raina, R.
Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Mohammed Shami, Harbhajan Singh, Umesh Yadav, Hardik Pandya, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Ashish Nehra.
Selectors send mixed signals
SPORTS VIEW by S.
The national cricket selectors seem to have deliberated a lot before selecting the T20 and ODI teams for the tour of Australia.
Yet, if one looks at the two squads, there are conflicting signals as to whether the wise men want to rewards performers in the domestic season or fall back on tried and tested names.
The selection panel, headed by Sandeep Patil, has reposed faith in M.S.
Dhoni, though his imprint on team selection doesn't seem to be there anymore.
Being omitted from the ODI squad is a matter of concern for Bhuvneshwar Kumar as he wouldn't know where to go and seek advice
The return of Yuvraj Singh and Ashish Nehra in the T20 squad does augur well for the ‘seniors'.
There had been speculation over Yuvraj for the last few days as he has played well in the VIjay Hazare Trophy, but Nehra certainly has been brought out from cold storage.
One way of looking at this is the selectors are not very concerned about the age of cricketers, even though the T20 format is intense and demanding.
After the poor performance of Team India against South Africa in the shorter formats, the selectors must have been concerned.
It's fine to win a Test series after that, but the challenge ahead is competing in Australia on very different wickets and then playing the ICC World T20 at home in March-April.
How well Yuvraj does in Australia will be watched with interest as the last time he played for India was in the ICC World T20 in 2014 in Bangladesh.
Nehra could consider himself lucky he is back in the mix without playing much domestic cricket this season. What marks the left-arm pacer out is his consistency and ability to bowl at the death.
That is something which not many fast bowlers are willing to do under pressure.
What is surprising in the T20 selection is how Suresh Raina finds a place despite being shown the door for the ODIs. He did not do well against South Africa and the ongoing domestic season.
His part-time spin bowling ability may have weighed in his favour, though on Australian wickets he will once again be tested by the short-pitched stuff.
It would not be an exaggeration to state that India's performance in the three T20s will be watched with more interest Down Under as that can provide some idea about how this team can fare in the World T20 next year.
There are big changes in the ODI squad as well, with four players from the last ODI World Cup left out: Raina, Ambati Rayudu, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Stuart Binny.
Mohit Sharma was unavailable for selection as he is not fully fit.
For long, the selectors seemed to be investing in Rayudu and Binny. If Rayudu was seen as the finisher, Binny was looked at as an all-rounder who could play a role even in Tests as he did in Sri Lanka.
With a few changes in the selection panel, it's not surprising he is out.
None can grudge the inclusion of Manish Pandey in the ODI side.
He has been waiting in the wings for long and will look to take on the role previously assigned to Rayudu.
The inclusion of Himachal's Rishi Dhawan does raise eyebrows as a prominent person of the Indian cricket board is from the same state and was at Saturday's selection meeting in the Capital.
Dhawan scored 307 runs and took 28 wickets in eight matches in the Ranji Trophy, but this was in a pool in which other teams are not of the highest calibre.
Ishant Sharma has spent a lot of months away from the side but he has bowled with fire this season and will be much needed by skipper Dhoni in conditions which suit the lanky speedster.
But what comes as a big surprise is Punjab's left-arm fast bowler Brainder Sran getting an ODI call-up ahead of Bhuvneshwar Kumar.
Sran has taken 34 wickets in 11 first-class games and 14 wickets in six matches in the ongoing Vijay Hazare Trophy.
He has done well this winter but few seem to care for Bhuvneshwar at this point of time.
He has been groomed for a long time and has lost the ability to swing the ball, though has gained pace.
Though Bhuvi is part of the T20 side, to be removed from the ODIs is a matter of concern as he wouldn't know where to go and seek advice.
As long as you are part of the squad and travel with the support staff and coaches, you can get guidance.
Right now, he must be feeling lost like a babe in the woods.