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Yuvraj Singh in Michael Clarke’s Indian team for ICC Champions Trophy, no Dhawan

Yuvraj Singh is playing for Sunrisers Hyderabad in 2017 Indian Premier League with limited success. He has found a place in Michael Clarke’s Indian cricket team for the ICC Champions Trophy in June. No place for Shikhar Dhawan or Suresh Raina

cricket Updated: Apr 26, 2017 14:56 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Champions Trophy 2017,ICC Champions Trophy,Michael Clarke
Yuvraj Singh, who is not exactly in great form for Sunrisers Hyderabad in 2017 Indian Premier League, has been chosen by former Australian skipper Michael Clarke to make the Indian cricket team for the ICC Champions Trophy in UK in June. (AFP)

Former Australian captain Michael Clarke, who is in India commentating on the 2017 Indian Premier League, has included Yuvraj Singh in his Indian cricket team for June’s ICC Champions Trophy in UK. Neither Shikhar Dhawan nor Suresh Raina have found a place in Clarke’s 13-man squad.

India are the only team not to have named their squad in the eight-team championship from June 1-18. The Board of Control for Cricket in India is currently locked in a ‘revenue-share’ war with the International Cricket Council and has held back naming the squad.

India are the defending ICC Champions Trophy champions. In 2013 in UK, India, led by Mahendra Singh Dhoni, had beaten hosts England in a rain-hit final at the Oval.

Never-say-die spirit

Yuvraj Singh, whose never-say-it’s-over attitude helps script dramatic comebacks, has been chosen by Michael Clarke in the Indian team for the ICC Champions Trophy. Clarke has probably put Yuvraj’s big-hitting and match-winning prowess over form while making this call.

But for a 62 in Sunrisers Hyderabad’s opening 2017 IPL match against Royal Challengers Bangalore, Yuvraj Singh’s performance has not been impressive. But Clarke feels “Yuvraj has earned his place” in the playing XI.

Australians always back the man in form. Picking Yuvraj Singh -- who has just two fifties in his last nine limited overs innings, including five IPL knocks -- thus is slightly non-Australian!

Shikhar Dhawan has been in better form than Yuvraj Singh. ( PTI )

No Shikhar Dhawan

There is no place for Yuvraj’s SRH team-mate Shikhar Dhawan. The left-handed Delhi opener, who was the Man of the Tournament when India won in 2013, has lost out to Ajinkya Rahane, who Clarke feels is the right man to open the Indian innings with Rohit Sharma, another batsman who is struggling for form in IPL.

Interestingly, Shikhar Dhawan’s current form is far better than Yuvraj Singh’s. With four scores in excess of 30, Dhawan has been quite prolific for Sunrisers Hyderabad in IPL 2017. Dhawan scored a 128 for India B in a 50-over Deodhar Trophy match vs India A in Visakhapatnam in March-end.

Most players in Michael Clarke’s Indian team pick themselves. Rahane’s technique and ability to play the news moving ball has won him a place but Mumbai Indians captain Rohit Sharma has to work on his confidence in the remainder of the IPL.

India's physio Patrick Farhart (C) applies a spray on the finger of Lokesh Rahul (L) as teammate Cheteshwar Pujara (R) looks on during the second day of play of the fourth Test in Dharamsala on March 26, 2017. ( AFP )

‘Lokesh Rahul’s absence will hurt’

Lokesh Rahul’s absence will hurt India, feels Clarke, who adds in his chat with India Today that there is enough back-up to fill the slots.

“I think if KL Rahul is not completely fit, India will not pick him. It is a big loss but India have got replacements. I think Rohit Sharma needs to play and open for India.

“And then I think the selectors will go for Ajinkya Rahane. Rahane’s technique if the ball is swinging is conducive to England. No brainer at number three, Virat Kohli as captain. I think Yuvraj has earned his place (at number four), he is experienced”, Clarke said.

Rising Pune Supergiant’s Mahendra Singh Dhoni remains one of the best chasers in limited overs cricket. India won the 2013 ICC Champions Trophy under his captaincy ( AFP )

Mahendra Singh Dhoni retains place

He added, “I would go with MS Dhoni at number five. He is experienced and he’s still the best keeper in the Indian team. At number six, I would pick Manish Pandey and then Kedar Jadhav at number seven.

“Ashwin and Jadeja will be my two spinners and my four quicks would be Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Umesh Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami.”

Clarke has picked 13 and that leaves scope for two more to complete the official 15. One of the Pandya brothers -- probably Hardik -- will probably sneak in while Suresh Raina will be wondering what more to do to make a Team India return unlike a Yuvraj Singh, who seems quite blessed at the moment.

Michael Clarke’s Indian Team for ICC Champions trophy (in batting order): Rohit Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane, Virat Kohli (captain), Yuvraj Singh, MS Dhoni (wk), Manish Pandey, Kedar Jadhav, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Umesh Yadav, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami

First Published: Apr 26, 2017 12:52 IST