If there’s one man who deserves to return to the ODI squad, it’s Yuvraj Singh.
Dropped earlier this year, the left-hander has been in terrific form of late, turning on the style for India ‘A’ against the West Indies ‘A’ and India Blue in the NKP Salve Challenger Trophy.
And when the senior selection committee meets in Chennai on Monday to pick the squad for the one-off Twenty20 game and the first three ODIs of the seven-match series against Australia next month, the senior pro’s name will certainly figure in the discussions.
Just like he fought cancer and made it to the national side late last year, Singh has ticked all the boxes this time around. The hard work he put in during the off-season Yuvi and Zaheer Khan trained under the guidance of Tim Exter in France has paid rich dividends. He has tallied 389 runs in six innings in List A cricket.
The selectors are unlikely to make any other major change to the squad which won the ICC Champions Trophy and the tri-series in the West Indies. Yuvraj should take the place of M Vijay. But when it comes to the XI, it could be a toss-up between him, Dinesh Karthik and Suresh Raina. Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir are unlikely to make a comeback.
With Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma having sealed their place at the top of the order, and Virat Kohli settling down at No. 3, Gambhir doesn’t stand a chance. Sehwag wants to bat in the middle-order, and he did the same for Delhi in the just-concluded Challenger series. But with Suresh Raina, MS Dhoni, Karthik and Ravindra Jadeja already there, the Nawab of Najafgarh will have to bide his time. Sehwag, who scored a sparkling 59 in his comeback match against India Blue, followed it up with outings of eight and five.
The bowling line-up is unlikely to be disturbed. Ishant Sharma, R Ashwin, Umesh Yadav and Bhuvneshwar Kumar, all rested for the ODI series in Zimbabwe, look set to return.
With Ashwin and Jadeja in charge of the spin department, and leg-spinner Amit Mishra also in the mix, there’s no place for Harbhajan Singh or, for that matter, Jammu and Kashmir’s Parvez Rasool.