MUMBAI: Yuvraj Singh has been named in India’s squad for the Twenty20 World Cup, which will be played in Sri Lanka in September.
A delighted Yuvraj tweeted. "Can't explain how I feel!" Yuvraj wrote. "Feels like I'm going to play for India for the first time. Its a special day for me. When I was diagnosed with cancer I always thought in my heart that one day I will come back and play for India. So here I am ready to represent my country once again. Its a huge honour. I can't wait to step on the field and wave the Indian flag!"
The left-handed batsman, who underwent successful chemotherapy for a rare germ cell cancer, was recuperating at the National Cricket Academy in Bangalore and was considered to have recovered enough to be included in the side.
“We really appreciate the kind of effort he has put in. It is a great factor from Indian cricket’s point of view. It’s great to have him in the team. With this kind of combination we will have a great chance of winning the Twenty20 World Cup,” said Chairman of Selectors K. Srikkanth.
The same squad will also play New Zealand in two Twenty20 matches in the first week of September.A pleasant surprise was also in store for Harbhajan Singh as the woefully out-of-form off-spinner was handed a Twenty20 berth. Harbhajan lost his place in the team during last year’s tour of England and subsequently fell out of favour as R. Ashwin rose to prominence.
Despite an ongoing sub-standard stint with Essex, the Turbanator was given another chance to cut it on the international stage.
Yuvraj's inclusion, however, was not unanimous as the 30-year-old has not played in any competitive cricket for the past nine months. He had last played international cricket against the West Indies in the second Test at Kolkata last November.
Also on the comeback trail was medium-pacer L. Balaji - out of reckoning for three years - who was included on the back of stellar performances for Kolkata Knight Riders in IPL-V.
Irfan Pathan's good show in the recent ODI series against Lanka also earned him a berth for September’s tournament.
Although he failed miserably in the ODIs, Rohit Sharma has been selected for the T20 World Cup, but doesn’t find a place in the squad for the two-Test series against New Zealand.
The selectors also announced VVS Laxman in the Test squad, ending swirling rumours that Laxman might be booted out in favour of grooming a younger batsman.
But with Rahul Dravid already retired the selectors decided to put their faith in the experienced Hyderabadi.
Cheteshwar Pujara, Dravid’s ostensible replacement, was also included to add bulk to an already imposing batting card that includes Gautam Gambhir, Virender Sehwag, Sachin Tendulkar, Laxman and Virat Kohli.
Ajinkya Rahane gets in as backup opener, while Suresh Raina’s burgeoning reputation on flat sub-continental tracks has ensured another Test opportunity for him.
The new ball against the Kiwis will be handled by Zaheer Khan, Ishant Sharma and Umesh Yadav, while off-spinner R. Ashwin and left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha will share the spinning duties.
A dismal domestic season seemed to have done Piyush Chawla no harm as the leggie made the squad as the third spinner.
World T20 squad: MS Dhoni (c), Gautam Gambhir, Virender Sehwag, Suresh Raina, Virat Kohli, Yuvraj Singh, Irfan Pathan, R Ashwin, Zaheer Khan, L Balaji, Ashok Dinda, Rohit Sharma, Piyush Chawla, Harbhajan Singh and Manoj Tiwary.
Test squad against New Zealand: MS Dhoni (c), Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir (vice-captain), Sachin Tendulkar, VVS Laxman, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, R Ashwin, Zaheer Khan, Pragyan Ojha, Umesh Yadav, Ajinkya Rahane, Piyush Chawla, Ishant Sharma and Suresh Raina.