Selectors Might Mull Over Yuvraj Singh's Inclusion for World Cup
With there being a question mark over Ravindra Jadeja, who pulled out of Australia Tests due to shoulder injury, Yuvraj Singh would weigh significantly on the selectors' mind while choosing the Cup squad.
The out-of-favour Yuvraj Singh's brilliant domestic form will weigh on the selectors when they meet on Tuesday to pick the squads for the ODI tri-series against Australia and England besides the World Cup next month.
Yuvraj, who was not picked even in the preliminary list of 30 probables on December 4 last, has since come back into contention by striking three back-to-back hundreds against Haryana, Maharashtra and Saurashtra in the Ranji Trophy.
The hard-hitting left-hander, significantly the man of the 2011 World Cup that was won by India and scorer of over 8000 runs from 293 ODIs, also got among the wickets with his left-arm spin on the placid track in the match at Rajkot.
With there being a question mark over Ravindra Jadeja, undergoing rehabilitation for his throwing shoulder currently, Yuvraj would weigh significantly on the selectors' mind while choosing the Cup squad.
There is another player of similar style who is almost certain to be picked, Gujarat's Axar Patel, already in Australia as a late replacement for Jadeja. (For Yuvraj, India Door is Closed: Ganguly)
It will all boil down to whether the selectors, as well as captain Dhoni and coach Duncan Fletcher, who will be on conference call from Australia, feel it makes sense in putting the clock back on Yuvraj -- a proven customer in the shorter formats of the game.
At 33, Yuvraj, who did not figure in any India squad in 2014, is not too old to merit consideration, especially with doubts arising over Jadeja who is unlikely to be fit for the triangular series in Australia commencing later this month. (India Can't Carry Passengers to World Cup: Gavaskar)
The Cricket Board expects Jadeja to regain full control of his injured body part before the February 14-March 29 mega event to be jointly hosted by Australia and New Zealand.
"According to our assessment Jadeja can start to train and throw with his left hand from January 7," said BCCI secretary Sanjay Patel ahead of the selection meeting.
The Saurashtra cricketer is currently undergoing rehabilitation in Chennai.
The ICC rules also do not debar the selectors from changing their mind and including a player not in the original list of probables, according to BCCI sources.
The selectors will also mull on Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who has not taken any part in the first three Tests of the four-game series now in progress, because of an injury.
The UP medium pacer seems to have carried his injury to Australia on the assumption that he would get fit in time for the Test rubber but the reading has back-fired.
Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami and Umesh Yadav are expected to get the nod while the expensive and wayward Varun Aaron is unlikely to make the World Cup squad.
Mumbai pacer Dhawal Kulkarni, flown to Australia late as cover for Bhuvneshwar, Karnataka all-rounder Stuart Binny and medium pacer R Vinay Kumar, all part of the squad that played in the last two ODIs of the home series against Sri Lanka, are the other contenders.
In batting, Murali Vijay, who has shown very good judgement when opening the innings in the Test series, could earn a berth if the selectors are not confident that the under-performing Shikhar Dhawan would deliver in those conditions.
The chances of Vijay, who was part of the squad for the first three ODIs against Lanka, have improved significantly as the other player who opens in ODIs, Rohit Sharma, too has shown poor application in Australia in Tests.
However, it would be very difficult to ignore Sharma's credentials especially after his world record-setting knock of 264 in the previous ODI rubber against Lanka at home.
Ajinkya Rahane is a certainty for the other opener's slot. Virat Kohli, Suresh Raina, yet to play a Test in Australia on current visit, and Ambati Rayudu should occupy the bulk of middle-order slots followed by Dhoni.
There could be a case for inclusion of the hard-hitting Robin Uthappa, who can multi-task as an opener and wicketkeeper, other than batting in the lower middle-order. He was part of the squad that played against Sri Lanka.
Leg-spinner Amit Mishra was also in the ODI squad that played against Sri Lanka and would surely be the front runner for this type of bowling after the poor debut of Karn Sharma in the first Test at Adelaide on a spinning track.
Off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin also looks a certainty after figuring in all ODIs against Sri Lanka and being part of the current Test squad touring Australia.
Neither senior off spinner Harbhajan Singh, not in the 30-strong probables list, nor another challenger to Ashwin, Parveez Rasool, seem to have come into contention with stellar displays in domestic cricket ahead of the selection meet.