New Delhi: Yuvraj Singh, who returned from cancer treatment in the USA in April, has been named in a 30-man probables squad for September's ICC World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka.
Two of the batting stars of IPL 5, Ajinkya Rahane (560 runs at 40.00) and Shikhar Dhawan (569 at 40.64) have been included on the basis of their Twenty20 form this year, as has Kolkata Knight Riders and Tamil Nadu seamer L Balaji, who was miserly with the ball in IPL 5.
Yuvraj, 30, has not played international cricket since India's tour of England last summer. After two and half months in the USA battling a rare germ-cell cancer called mediastinal seminoma,Yuvraj earlier this month cited Twenty20 as the ideal format for him to explore his return to competitive cricket. He recently started training at the National Cricket Academy in Bangalore.
The 30-man list also includes two uncapped players in Mandeep Singh, the Punjab batsman who was the leading run-scorer for Kings XI Punjab in IPL 5, as well as Mumbai Indians' Ambati Rayudu.
Mandeep, 20, has been a consistent performer on the domestic circuit, especially in Twenty20 cricket, but it was his stellar IPL 5 returns that earned him inclusion in the selectors’ list. In 16 innings he scored 432 runs at 27.00 with two half-centuries. The 26-year-old Rayudu, whose natural talent has never yet earned him India selection, scored 333 runs at 37.00 for Mumbai in IPL 5, the second-highest number behind Rohit Sharma whose name also featured in the list of 30.
Balaji, 30, has not played for India since February 2009 but was outstanding in IPL 5. His economy rate of 5.40 from eight matches was the best of the tournament, while his average of 14.72 was sixth best overall. Balaji’s miserly and penetrative form with the ball was a major factor in KKR reaching the IPL final, and though he did not play in that match his captain Gautam Gambhir dedicated the victory to his trusted bowler.
Harbhajan Singh, who has been overlooked in India’s fixtures since the tour of England, has also been named in the squad despite an average domestic and IPL season. He is currently playing for Essex in county cricket. Harbhajan is one of four specialist spinners named in the probables, alongside R Ashwin, Pragyan Ojha, Rahul Sharma and Pragyan Ojha. Spin-bowling allrounders Ravindra Jadeja and Yusuf Pathan are also included.
Also named in the probables was Robin Uthappa, who played in India’s one-off Twenty20 international against South Africa in March but whose career has been chequered. Uthappa had an average IPL 5, but the selectors have penned him into the list of 30.
The selectors have named, aside from captain MS Dhoni, two specialist wicketkeepers in the pool of 30 – Rayudu kept wickets for Mumbai to fit the needs of the team and Uthappa is not a regular wicketkeeper – in Dinesh Karthik and Naman Ojha.
India probables: MS Dhoni, Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Suresh Raina, R Ashwin, Pragyan Ojha, Umesh Yadav, Ashok Dinda, Ajinkya Rahane, Manoj Tiwary, Rahul Sharma, Vinay Kumar, Zaheer Khan, Yuvraj Singh, Robin Uthappa, Irfan Pathan, Yusuf Pathan, Mandeep Singh, Piyush Chawla, Ravindra Jadeja, Shikhar Dhawan, Ambati Rayudu, Harbhajan Singh, Munaf Patel, Naman Ojha, Dinesh Karthik, Praveen Kumar, L Balaji.