Is Yuvraj Singh not in the scheme of things for the 2015 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand or are the selectors sending out a message to this explosive batsman?
The 32-year-old Yuvraj, on Tuesday, found his name missing from the Indian squad for the five-match ODI series in New Zealand, beginning January 19. The left-hander has been punished for his inconsistency since his return to the Indian team. Yuvraj had just one half-century in eight ODI innings and was troubled by Aussie pace predator Mitchell Johnson in the home series.
But then, the gifted Yuvraj can still swing matches with his willow when inspired and could yet be in the minds of the wise men.
The 29-year-old Stuart Binny, a hard-hitting batsman and a useful mediumpacer, comes in. The selectors are on the lookout for a pace-bowling ODI all-rounder in seamer-friendly conditions and Binny is an option being tried out.
Interestingly, the 24-year-old Varun Aaron makes an ODI comeback. This fast bowler with immense possibilities has not played for India since 2011 because of a back injury. Once the selectors were convinced of his fitness this season — he has bowled without discomfort for Jharkhand — Aaron was recalled. He will surely add firepower to the attack.
Lanky Madhya Pradesh paceman Ishwar Pandey finds himself in both the Test and the ODI squads. The 24-year-old Pandey replaces left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha in the Test side. With Ravindra Jadeja impressing in the Durban Test, the selectors did not feel the need for another left-arm spinner on what could be lively tracks in Auckland and Wellington.
The industrious Pandey — he has a creditable 131 wickets in 31 first class matches — extracts bounce and bowls an off-stump line.
Umesh Yadav, who lost his place in the ODIs, has been retained for Tests. The squads:
Tests: M.S. Dhoni (captain), S. Dhawan, M. Vijay, C. Pujara, V. Kohli, R. Sharma, A. Rahane, A. Rayudu, R. Ashwin, R. Jadeja, Zaheer Khan, M. Shami, I. Sharma, B. Kumar, W. Saha, I. Pandey, U. Yadav.
ODIs: M.S. Dhoni (captain), S. Dhawan, R. Sharma, V. Kohli, A. Rahane, A. Rayudu, S. Raina, R. Ashwin, R. Jadeja, B. Kumar, M. Shami, I. Sharma, A. Mishra, I. Pandey, S. Binny, V. Aaron.