Chennai: The BCCI selection committee acknowledged the recent form of Yuvraj Singh by recalling the left-handed batsman into the 15-member squad announced here on Monday for the lone Twenty20 and first three one-dayers against the visiting Australian team.
MS Dhoni, R Ashwin, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Ishant Sharma, who were rested for the Zimbabwe ODI series, have been recalled to the squad. However, Cheteshwar Pujara, Dinesh Karthik, Ajinkya Rahane and Parvez Rasool have failed to retain their places.
Virender Sehwag, who has been struggling with his consistency, also failed to make a return to the national fold despite scoring a half-century for Delhi in the NKP Salve Challengers Trophy.
Gautam Gambhir has also been overlooked since he failed to show any signs of returning to form during his stint with English county side Essex and the Challengers Trophy that concluded on Sunday, with the Yuvraj-led India Blue lifting the trophy.
Yuvraj sealed his return with a consistent run as captain of India A in a limited-overs series against West Indies. His last six innings - 29 and 84 in the Challenger Trophy and 52, 61, 40 and 123 in the limited-overs games against West Indies A - proved enough to re-invent selectors' interest in India's World Cup hero, who has looked hungry for success once again.
Yuvraj last played for India on January 27 against England at Dharamsala, after which he was dropped due to poor form. But the Punjab lad, who has fought more serious battles than loss of batting form, took it in his stride and turned it around. He underwent a rigorous training programme in France to return fitter to competitive cricket. And his consistency against West Indies A and for India Blue finally earned him a recall.
Another noteworthy omission from the squad was Umesh Yadav, who too has been overlooked. He was not part of last ODI series against Zimbabwe, and the BCCI press release, as usual, didn't give any reason for any of the selection decisions.
Yadav's poor run in the Challenger Trophy didn't help his cause. Playing for India Red, he registered poor and expensive figures of 1 for 67 and 1 for 85.
Dinesh Karthik can consider himself unlucky, but to accommodate an in-form Yuvraj, the selectors had to drop someone and the cross was put against Karthik's name.
Pujara was also part of the squad to Zimbabwe, but he has been dropped, probably taking into account his value as a Test batsman and India's heavily loaded next 12 months, during which they travel to South Africa, New Zealand and England.
The Australia series begins October 10 with a one-off Twenty20 international to be played at Rajkot. The seven-match ODI series starts October 13.
Squad: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (capt/wk), Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Yuvraj Singh, Suresh Raina, Ravindra Jadeja, R. Ashwin, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ishant Sharma, Vinay Kumar, Amit Mishra, Ambati Rayudu, Mohammed Shami, Jaydev Unadkat.