The National selectors on Wednesday named Yuvraj Singh, Harbhajan Singh and L. Balaji among the 30 probables for the World T20 championship to be held this September in Sri Lanka.
Also making the list are Mandeep Singh, Naman Ojha and Ambati Rayudu, all rewarded for their performances in the Indian Premier League (IPL) this season. The list will be pruned to a squad of 15 in due course.
Yuvraj’s return among the probables was widely expected after the all-rounder expressed his desire to come back to international cricket even as he continued recuperating from cancer. He started training at the National Cricket Academy in Bangalore and hoped to play in Buchi Babu and Moin-ud-Dowla limited over tournaments in Chennai and Hyderabad to assess his match-fitness ahead of the World Cup. The selectors feel Yuvraj doesn’t have to prove his worth in the side. The only concern remains is his match-fitness. The selectors would ideally like him to play some competitive cricket before they take the final call.
“Yuvraj is a fighter. Let us not forget he won us the World Cup. There is plenty of time left for T20 World Cup. We hope he recovers to make the team. If he is fit he will be a great asset to the Indian team,” said National chief selector K. Srikkanth.
“If I am not feeling 500 per cent fit, I would not risk a return to international cricket,” Yuvraj had told mediapersons here earlier this month. “May be, I can play the two T20 matches (on Sept. 8 at Visakhapatnam and on Sept. 11 in Chennai) against New Zealand and see how I feel. I really felt motivated when Srikkanth said that I was under consideration for the World T20 championship,” was how Yuvraj had put it.
Yuvraj’s Punjab teammate Harbhajan Singh has been included despite showing no signs of returning to form of late. Balaji, who last played an international match in 2009, made it after some modest performances in the last season and this year’s IPL.
The probables: Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Suresh Raina, R. Ashwin, Pragyan Ojha, Umesh Yadav, Ashok Dinda, Ajinkya Rahane, Manoj Tiwary, Rahul Sharma, Vinay Kumar, Zaheer Khan, Yuvraj Singh, Robin Uthappa, Irfan Pathan, Yusuf Pathan, Mandeep Singh, Piyush Chawla, Ravindra Jadeja, Shikhar Dhawan, Ambati Rayudu, Harbhajan Singh, Munaf Patel, Naman Ojha, Dinesh Karthik, Praveen Kumar and L Balaji.