Tuesday, Dec 23, 2014

Third innings: Yuvraj Singh follows on

Written by Shamik Chakrabarty | Kolkata | Posted: October 1, 2013 3:17 am

Yuvraj Singh has earned a recall to India’s limited-overs squad by the sheer weight of his runs in recent List A games. The 31-year-old left-hander,who has scored 389 runs at 64.83 while turning up for India A and India Blue in the last two weeks,was among the 15 named for the one-off T20 international and the first three ODIs against Australia. The visitors start the international leg of the tour with a T20 game at Rajkot on October 10 and follow it up with 7 ODIs.

Yuvraj’s inclusion was one of the four changes that the senior national selection committee made to the squad that won the ICC Champions Trophy and the tri-series in the Caribbean earlier this year. Others joining the team were middle-order batsman Ambati Rayudu and pacers Jaydev Unadkat and Mohammed Shami. Murali Vijay,Dinesh Karthik,Umesh Yadav and Irfan Pathan failed to make the cut. According to a source close to the selection committee,Irfan was ruled out due to a rib injury while others were dropped.

Yuvraj’s last international outing was eight months back when India played England at Dharamsala. That game in January had ended the left-hander’s much-celebrated return to big league after cancer treatment. On his return to the field after illness,Yuvraj had shown glimpses of the man who had played a big role in making India the first home team to win a World Cup. But his heavy frame and slow movement repeatedly pulled him down. Subsequently,the all-rounder missed India’s next three limited-overs assignments.

Out of his comfort zone

During his time away from the Indian team,Yuvraj decided to move out of his comfort zone. The batsman moved to the country side in France to be at a fitness centre that,as a rule,didn’t allow any luxuries to its resident. He worked there with trainer Tim Exeter,a 48-year-old former rugby international,who in the past had improved the skills of several top athletes.

On his return from France in August,Yuvraj was a changed man. He looked leaner,fitter,and most importantly,hungrier. When the selectors chose the India A team,Yuvraj turned back the clock. He was back to treating the bowlers with disdain. After the first match against West Indies A in Bangalore,where he scored a match winning ton,Yuvraj joked,“People tell me,I look 10 years younger.”

At the Challenger Trophy that followed,he virtually sealed his place in the side for the Australia series as he continued to pile on the runs.

But in the days to come,it remains to be seen if the all-new Yuvraj can replicate this form at the international level.

At the meeting today,once Yuvraj’s selection — in place of out-of-form Vijay — was agreed upon,it became a choice between Karthik and Rayudu for the remaining specialist batsman’s slot. Rayudu got the nod because of his 50-plus average in the ODI series against Zimbabwe,which India won 5-0.

The committee decided to replace an all-rounder,Irfan,with a specialist medium pacer,Unadkat,though Mumbai all-rounder Abhishek Nayar’s name was discussed. Shami too was picked as Yadav was left out.

“Umesh hasn’t been continued…

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