Yuvraj Returns For T20 World Cup, Harbhajan Recalled
Mumbai: Yuvraj Singh overcame cancer and now he has fought his way back into the Indian squad for next month’s Twenty20 World Cup. His Punjab teammate Harbhajan Singh has also been included in the T20 side announced Friday while veteran V.V.S. Laxman has retained his place in the Test team for the home series against New Zealand.
Yuvraj, who began training in June after a lengthy treatment for a rare germ cell cancer in the US, was deemed fit to play in the T20 extravaganza in Sri Lanka beginning Sep 18.
The selection committee, headed by Krishnamachari Srikkanth, picked 15-member teams for the two-Test series against the Black Caps starting Aug 23 as well as the tournament in Sri Lanka. The T20 unit will play two games against New Zealand before departing for the biennial event. “I am glad to say that Yuvraj is fit. I appreciate the effort he has put in. It was crucial that he got back in the team and we are really keen on winning the World Cup for the second time. It is a powerful side,” said Srikkanth, who is set to give up his selection role in September.
The southpaw’s selection for the tournament was expected after he was included in the preliminary squad of 30 members last month. Yuvraj last played for India during a home series against the West Indies in November 2011.
Off-spinner Harbhajan, who was going through a poor run, was also recalled to the national side after a one-year gap, alongside speedster Laxmipathy Balaji, whose last international game was way back in Feb 2009.
Another player who got the selectors’ nod was leggie Piyush Chawla, who last played for India in the 2011 50-over World Cup.
The players who missed out on the selection were Ajinkaya Rahane, Umesh Yadav, Rahul Sharma and Pragyan Ojha. They were part of the squad for the one-off T20 against Sri Lanka played Tuesday.
Eight members of the side led by Mahendra Singh Dhoni were part of the last edition of the World Cup in the West Indies. India won the inaugural edition in 2007. However, Mumbai batsman Rahane, express fast bower Yadav and left-arm spinner Ojha managed to find a place in the Test side.
Chawla’s selection to play in the longest format was the biggest surprise. The Uttar Pradesh tweaker has not played a Test since April 2008, when he took the field against South Africa in Kanpur.
The stylish Pujara returned to the fold after a long wait. The last Test of his three-match career was against the Proteas. Laxman, 37, hung on to his place in the side and pacer Ishant Sharma was also included.
The first Test takes place at Hyderabad Aug 23-27, and the second in Chennai Aug 31-Sep 4.
T20 squad: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (captain), Gautam Gambhir, Virender Sehwag, Suresh Raina, Virat Kohli, Yuvraj Singh, Irfan Pathan, Ravichandran Ashwin, Zaheer Khan, Laxmipathy Balaji, Ashok Dinda, Rohit Sharma, Piyush Chawla, Harbhajan Singh, Manoj Tiwary.
Test squad: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (captain), Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Sachin Tendulkar, V.V.S. Laxman, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Ravichandran Ashwin, Zaheer Khan, Pragyan Ojha, Umesh Yadav, Ajinkya Rahane, Piyush Chawla, Ishant Sharma, Suresh Raina.
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