Chennai: Kris Srikkanth, chairman of the Indian selection committee, has backed Yuvraj Singh to come good in Test cricket. Despite being a fixture in India's limited-overs plans for many years, Yuvraj has not managed to seal a permanent Test spot, but has forced his way back into the squad for England on the back of his starring role in the World Cup.
"We all know that Yuvraj has quality," Srikkanth told the Indian Express. "Yes, I agree that he has so far failed to carry forward his ODI form into Test cricket. But he still has many years of cricket left in him. If he can cement his place in the Test squad, then that will surely augur well for Indian cricket."
In the absence of several senior players, the ongoing West Indies series would have provided Yuvraj the perfect opportunity to revive his Test career, but a lung infection forced him out of the series. The vacancies in the middle order gave India's next generation of batsmen a rare Test look-in. Suresh Raina made good use of the opportunity, overcoming his weakness against short-pitched bowling to score two half-centuries, while Virat Kohli failed to build on his strong one-day performances.
"We never had any doubt about Raina's talent," Srikkanth said. "He started off his (Test career) very well but then had a quiet period. But a player with such talent was bound to return to form. Like all good players he has worked on his weaknesses. This Indian team has a great dressing room atmosphere and the juniors always get the right advice from the seniors. But the bottom line is that you have to solve your own problem.
"Raina worked hard and approached the task without any confusion. It's not easy for a youngster, who grows up on placid Indian wickets, to be a naturally good player of pace bowling. Raina has shown the requisite grit. He was ready to fight it out which was very heartening."
While Srikkanth had words of praise for Raina, he refused to write off Kohli based on the failures in his first two Tests, in which he scored only 46 runs.
"Virat should be allowed more time, he has just had his first brush with Tests," Srikkanth said. "These youngsters will learn from experience. Test cricket is different from ODIs and it's not easy to get used to the conditions. These days they barely play any side matches and by the time they get acclimatised to the conditions the tour is over. Kohli has performed in the ODIs and now it's all about taking that form into Test cricket. I'm sure he will work on his game and will improve. He has a bright future ahead."