T20 and ODIs
The selectors have made their move.
The Indian squad for the T20s and the first 3 ODIs is as follows:
MS Dhoni, Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Yuvraj Singh, Suresh Raina, Ravindra Jadeja, R Ashwin, B. Kumar, Ishant Sharma, Vinay Kumar, Amit Mishra, Ambati Rayadu, Mohammed Shami, Jaydev Unadkat
Notable Exclusions: Umesh Yadav, Dinesh Karthik, M Vijay, Irfan Pathan
Notable Inclusions: Yuvraj Singh, Ambati Rayadu, Unadkat, Shami
Arguably India’s greatest limited over matchwinner is back. Yuvraj Singh last played an ODI in February 2013 against England, a stage at which he was still not fully fit after extensive cancer treatment. A lukewarm IPL followed. He was dropped from the Indian Champions Trophy squad- a gutsy decision by the selectors that have forced the man to come back stronger than ever.
His performance in List A cricket and the Challenger Trophy last week proves that Singh thinks his journey is far from over. He has earned his place back, and has not enjoyed free rides like other ageing legends. Gambhir still has time on his side, the same can’t be said about Sehwag.
This is not the first time Yuvraj has carved his way back into the scheme of things. He will straightaway be directly included in the first team, in place of the underperforming Dinesh Karthik- who was given a 3-series ODI run as a specialist batsman for once instead of just replacing Dhoni. To be fair, Karthik had earned the place after a superb IPL.
India managed to win their first ever international ICC trophy without the services of Yuvraj Singh in June, but there have been parts of the squad that have failed to keep up with the hectic schedule that followed.
-Karthik, after his phenomenal performances in the warmup games of the Champions Trophy, fell away during the West Indies tour, as did Murali Vijay- who was tried in the middle order after Rohit’s consistency at the top.
-Gambhir and Sehwag failed to capitalize on their recent domestic chances, as did Yusuf Pathan and Umesh Yadav.
-Yadav, a surprising exclusion from the squad, has numbers going against him- he averages 42 in his short ODI career and goes for more than 6 an over. He is capable of short lethal bursts, but his performances find better use in the test arena as of now. He has been a consistently good bowler for the Daredevils in IPL cricket, but that has not managed to sway the selectors enough.
-For now, Unadkat has everything to lose in these 3 ODIs (out of 7), and has not managed to do much of note in international cricket yet.
-Vinay Kumar was picked due to his variety and ability to take wickets, despite his poor economy rate- a skill Yadav should have mastered by now. In any case, Yadav is touted as the future spearhead of the Indian seam attack- and needs to get a few raps on his wrist to find out how to succeed the hard way.
-Ishant Sharma, meanwhile, came to within 2 balls of ending his own career in the Champions Trophy final against England, but got lucky after Bopara hooked a ball straight to Ashwin at floater point. He has retained his position at the top with Bhuvi, who will lead the attack once again.
-Mishra has retained his place from Zimbabwe, as has Rayadu- who is just 2 games old.
-Pujara failed to impress in those 2 games, but will definitely have a lot more opportunities in the near future- could be after these 3 games if Rohit doesn’t score big.
-Mohammed Shami is being given a good run, and there is no better time to be tested than against an iffy Australian team in their most unfavorite part of the world.
-Jadeja must be licking his lips at the prospect of yet another Australian buffet after blowing hot and cold in the current Champions League.
-Dhawan will carry on from where he left off. He is a different player altogether, and Australia will fear him. Rohit has that ability too, but he doesn’t have the belief yet.
-Raina is having a tremendous Champions League, as are Dhoni and Ashwin. They will be ruthless against the Australians, just like they have been against the hapless Australian T20 teams (Perth and Brisbane).