The Indian team for the ODI series and T20 games to be played against England this month has been announced. Two decisions made by the selectors stood out from the rest. The first was to recall veteran all-rounder Yuvraj Singh, and have him in both the squads. The just-married 35-year-old had not played an ODI for India for more than three years. His last ODI was during the World T20 in India, during which he had a mixed time. The other noticeable inclusion was that of Rishabh Pant, who has got his first India call-up. The youngster has been in stupendous form in domestic cricket this season, and his selection seems just reward for the same.
While Virat Kohli’s elevation to ODI and T20 skipper following MS Dhoni’s resignation was a mere formality, the selection of Yuvraj was a rather surprising factor. Yuvraj’s last ODI was way back in December 2013. Between 2012 and 2013 he was dropped, Yuvraj played nearly 20 games, and averaged under 20. His fitness too was a concern. But, a good run in the domestic season has been rewarded by the selectors. Yuvraj has scored 672 runs in five games for Punjab, at an average of over 80. His twin hundreds include a 260 against Baroda.
Explaining the reason for Yuvraj’s recall, chairman of selectors MSK Prasad said, "We should appreciate the way Yuvraj SIngh has played in domestic cricket. All these days we thought he hasn't played long innings. But he has score a double-hundred. He scored 180 on the Lahli wicket.” While Yuvraj makes yet another comeback, Pant has earned his maiden international call-up, in the T20 squad, based on solid domestic showings. He has scored 972 this Ranji season at an average similar to Yuvraj, and has also belted a triple hundred.
Following his failures against New Zealand, Ajinkya Rahane’s ODI spot was under scrutiny, but with Rohit Sharma unavailable, his Mumbai mate gets another chance. Rahane, interestingly, doesn’t find a place in the T20 squad though, with Mandeep Singh being picked ahead of him. The England ODIs will also mark the return of Shikhar Dhawan, who has recovered from his hand injury. KL Rahul and Hardik Pandya find their way into both the squads following impressive recent efforts. And just so as not to forget, Dhoni has indeed been retained as wicket-keeper batsman in both the squads. Another veteran, Suresh Raina, remains out of contention in ODIs though.
In a rather bizarre development was delayed owing to lack of clarity over the protocol to be followed after Supreme Court’s recent order. The meeting, which was scheduled to begin around 12.00 in the afternoon, eventually took place after 3.00 pm, following clarifications received from the Lodha Committee.
ODI squad: Virat Kohli (captain), KL Rahul, Shikhar Dhawan, MS Dhoni, Manish Pandey, Kedar Jadhav, Yuvraj Singh, Ajinkya Rahane, Hardik Pandya, R Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Amit Mishra, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Umesh Yadav
T20I squad: Virat Kohli (captain), KL Rahul, Mandeep Singh, MS Dhoni (wk), Yuvraj Singh, Suresh Raina, Rishabh Pant (wk), Hardik Pandya, R Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Yuzvendra Chahal, Manish Pandey, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Ashish Nehra