Of the three senior discarded batsmen put on trial by the national selectors, Yuvraj Singh seems to be the one who has passed the test. The southpaw’s impressive recent performances against West Indies ‘A’ and in the Challenger Trophy will be hard to ignore for the Sandeep Patil-led selection committee, which meets in Chennai on Monday to pick the team for the lone Twenty20 and the first three ODI’s against Australia.
Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir, the other two senior batsmen on the sidelines, couldn’t make much of an impact while playing for Delhi in the Challenger Trophy and thus are most likely to be ignored. If anything, the Delhi duo will have to take a leaf out of Yuvraj’s book; he has pursued his comeback with professionalism and determination.
Sweating it out
Overlooked for the Champions Trophy and subsequent ODI encounters, Yuvraj has put in the hard yards. First, he along with another discard, Zaheer Khan, went through a rigorous six-week programme in France under Tim Exeter, a well-known high performance physical trainer.
And the hard work seems to be paying dividends for Yuvraj. The 32-year-old has looked leaner and fitter, but more importantly has been in fine touch with the bat. In the five List ‘A’ matches and lone T20, Yuvraj has accumulated 389 runs with one century.
Skipper MS Dhoni, who last played for India in July before being rested for the Zimbabwe series, will be pleased with Yuvraj’s form. If included, he will not only provide more firepower in the middle-order but his left-arm spin will also be a handy option.
Maybe, maybe not
Dinesh Karthik, who has blown hot and cold since making his comeback in the Champions Trophy, or Ambati Rayudu will most likely make way for Yuvraj. However, both may be dropped if the selectors want to go in for an all-rounder.
But with Irfan Pathan out for six months due to injury, the selectors have only Abhishek Nayar as a proper bowling all-rounder option.
For the selectors though, it’s the discussion on seam options that will be the priority. While Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Ishant Sharma are automatic choices, they will debate on the other two options.
Umesh Yadav, not in best form, will most likely be third seamer while for the last spot it will be a toss up between Mohammad Shami and Jaydev Unadkat.