Vijay Hazare Trophy: Baroda drop Yusuf Pathan for quarterfinals
What's the story?
Baroda have dropped senior all-rounder Yusuf Pathan from their squad for the upcoming Vijay Hazare Trophy quarter-final. After a string of low scores, Yusuf was shown the door by the selectors who have now roped in 22-year-old Akshay Brahmbhatt in his place.
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The discarded India all-rounder's disappointing returns in the ongoing Vijay Hazare Trophy made the selectors lose patience with his game and instead offer a youngster an opportunity. In six games this season, Yusuf could only manage scores of 2, 2, 8, 12, 28 and 27, having picked up only one wicket.
In January this year, Yusuf was handed a five-month ban by the BCCI for ingesting the banned substance Terbutaline. It was a back-dated ban, which expired at midnight on 14th January 2018 and made him eligible for participation in the Vijay Hazare Trophy. Initially, Yusuf, 35, was snubbed for the tournament but was eventually included in the fifteen-member squad after passing the fitness test.
The heart of the matter
While it has been learnt that two of Baroda's selectors were against dropping Yusuf considering the side were on a winning run with him in the side, the other three were convinced that Yusuf's performances were not good enough for his retention.
"Yusuf played six matches in the tournament but didn't perform well. So, it was decided to drop him and give a chance to another player. His poor performance is the only reason behind leaving him out," said a Baroda Cricket Association official.
The Vijay Hazare Trophy quarter-finals take place on February 21 and 22, with Baroda facing Saurashtra in Delhi on the latter date. Baroda finished at the top of Group A in the group stages, having won five out of six matches, and qualifying alongside Karnataka from their pool.
It was fair for Baroda to have taken the decision of moving on from Yusuf despite his experience for the team in all these years. With neither form nor age on his side, axing Yusuf, who last played for India in 2012, for a fresh face was perhaps inevitable.
Vijay Hazare 2017-18 Quarter-Final Schedule
1st Q/F: Hyderabad vs Karnataka at Delhi, February 21
2nd Q/F: Mumbai vs Maharashtra at Delhi, February 21
3rd Q/F: Andhra vs Delhi at Delhi, February 22
4th Q/F: Baroda vs Saurashtra at Delhi, February 22