Suresh Raina has paid the price for his patchy form in One-Day Internationals, as the left-hander has been left out of India’s squad for the forthcoming Asia Cup to be held in Bangladesh. Cheteshwar Pujara has come in the squad instead of Raina, while Ishant Sharma has been axed not only from the Asia Cup but also from the World Twenty20 squad.
Yuvraj Singh and Raina, are however, part of the World Twenty20 squad that was named on Tuesday. Stuart Binny, who played in only one ODI in New Zealand, finds a place in both the squads.
Raina and Ishant were part of the India squad that was thrashed 0-4 by New Zealand in the ODI series that preceded the ongoing Test series, but surprisingly, they are the only casualties of that humiliation.
Raina, who has scored just one half-century in his last 24 ODI innings, was dropped from the last two ODIs against New Zealand, after scores of 18, 35 and 31 in the first three games. Ishant had figures of 9-0-72-1 and 6-0-46-1 in the first two ODIs, after which he warmed the bench for the remainder of the series. Ishant has taken 37 wickets in his last 24 ODIs, but they have come at an average of 30.02 and a high economy rate of 5.81.
Pujara has played only two ODIs, both against Zimbabwe in August 2013, where he had scores of 13 and 0 at the top of the order. Pujara, however, has an impressive List A record with 2947 runs (9 centuries and 18 half-centuries) at an average of 54.57 in 68 matches.
There have been plenty of calls in recent months for Pujara’s inclusion to lend much-needed stability to India’s batting order in ODIs, especially away from the sub-continent in the lead up to the 2015 World Cup.
Yuvraj, who was dropped from the ODI squad for the series in New Zealand, is one of the cleanest and biggest hitters of the ball, and it’s no surprise that he has been named in the World Twenty20 squad. Medium-pace bowler Mohit Sharma has played five ODIs, but is yet to represent India in the shortest format of the game. He has taken 23 wickets at an average of 20.26 and economy rate of 7.09 in 20 Twenty20 matches.
India played only one Twenty20 International in 2013 - against Australia at Rajkot on October 10. Yuvraj blazed his way to a 35-ball 77* as India chased down the stiff target of 202 for the loss of four wickets and with two balls to spare.
India won the inaugural edition of the World Twenty20 in 2007, but haven’t progressed beyond the Super 8 stage in the last three editions.
India will clash with arch-rivals Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Afghanistan in the Asia Cup to be hosted in Dhaka and Fatullah from February 25 to March 8.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni's men will stay back in Bangladesh for the World Twenty20 that opens on March 16. India have been drawn alongside Pakistan, Australia, West Indies and a qualifier in group two.
Asia Cup squad: MS Dhoni, Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ambati Rayudu, Ajinkya Rahane, Ravindra Jadeja, R Ashwin, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami, Varun Aaron, Stuart Binny, Amit Mishra, Ishwar Pandey
World Twenty20 squad: MS Dhoni, Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Suresh Raina, Yuvraj Singh, Ajinkya Rahane, Ravindra Jadeja, R Ashwin, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami, Stuart Binny, Amit Mishra, Mohit Sharma, Varun Aaron
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