Mumbai: Yuvraj Singh, Harbhajan Singh and Murali Vijay have been recalled to India's Test team for the first time in over a year as the new BCCI selection committee named a 15-man squad for the first two matches against England this month. Suresh Raina, Piyush Chawla and S Badrinath were the men dropped from India's previous Test squad.
Injury concerns over an injured finger were dispelled on Monday when Virender Sehwag cruised to a century for Delhi against Uttar Pradesh in the Ranji Trophy, and Zaheer Khan was also named despite leaving the field twice on Sunday during Mumbai's match against Railways.
Yuvraj, who made a successful return to Twenty20 cricket after recovering from cancer, was called up for the first time since November 2011 after impressing in his two first-class outings.
His 241-ball 208, which spanned over five-and-a-half hours, for North Zone in the Duleep Trophy recently would have given the selectors reason to take notice, but it was a fine all-round performance against the England XI – an 80-ball 59 with four sixes and 5 for 94 with his left-arm spin – that have given the 30-year-old will a strong chance of adding to his 37 Test caps.
Raina batted at No. 6 against New Zealand with scores of 3, 55 and 0 but has been axed after failing to impress while captaining India A in Mumbai. Tamil Nadu opener Vijay has not played for India since the summer of 2011, but a double-century in the Irani Trophy and a strong run in the Challenger Trophy appear to have worked for him.
With legspinner Chawla injured, the third spinner's spot went to Harbhajan who made his return to India's Twenty20 squad recently. Harbhajan had a productive stint with English county side Essex this summer and bowled 21 wicketless overs in Hyderabad's first innings against Punjab in the ongoing Ranji Trophy match in Mohali before taking a wicket in the second.
Ajinkya Rahane held on to his spot as the first of two reserve openers - Vijay being the other - after scoring a century for Mumbai in the Ranji Trophy. The rest of the team remained the same as that picked for two Tests against New Zealand in August.
Cheteshwar Pujara kept his spot as India's No. 3.
Zaheer, Umesh Yadav and Ishant are the three fast bowlers, while Harbhajan is the third slow bowler behind R Ashwin and Pragyan Ojha. There was no reserve wicketkeeper named.
India's Test Squad: MS Dhoni (capt/wk), Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Sachin Tendulkar, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Yuvraj Singh, Ajinkya Rahane, Murali Vijay, R Ashwin, Umesh Yadav, Pragyan Ojha, Zaheer Khan, Harbhajan Singh, Ishant Sharma