Yuvraj back in India's Test squad after cancer
NEW DELHI (AFP) –
Indian all-rounder Yuvraj Singh was on Monday selected for the first two Tests against England, capping a fairytale comeback from cancer at the start of the year.
The 30-year-old was included in a 15-man squad for the first two Tests of the four-match series against Alastair Cook’s tourists which opens in Ahmedabad on November 15.
The selectors, who met in Mumbai, also brought back seasoned off-spinner Harbhajan Singh, 32, into the Test squad for the first time since August last year.
Harbhajan, whose 406 scalps in 98 Tests make him the world’s leading wicket-taker among the current crop of bowlers, is the third specialist spinner in the squad alongside Ravichandran Ashwin and Pragyan Ojha.
Yuvraj, who has not played Test cricket since last November, was treated for a rare germ-cell cancer between his lungs in the United States earlier this year.
He returned after chemotherapy treatment in April, was picked for the World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka in September and cracked a double-century on his return to domestic first-class cricket last month.
The left-hander forced his way into the Test squad after scoring a half-century and taking five wickets for India ‘A’ in England’s tour opener in Mumbai last week.
Yuvraj is almost certain to take the number six spot when the playing XI is finalised on the eve of the first Test, while his left-arm spin gives the hosts another slow bowling option.
Yuvraj has played 37 Tests since his international debut in 2000, scoring 1,775 runs at 34.80 with three centuries. He was adjudged the man of the tournament after India’s victory in the 50-over World Cup last year.
Middle-order batsman Suresh Raina, who played in the two home Tests against New Zealand in August, was dropped.
Murali Vijay and Ajinkya Rahane are the reserve batsmen in the squad to be led by wicket-keeper Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
Left-armer Zaheer Khan spearheads the new-ball attack that includes Ishant Sharma and Umesh Yadav, but only two of them are expected to make the playing XI.
India are looking to avenge the 4-0 rout in England last year which dethroned them from the number one Test ranking.
The remaining back-to-back Tests will be played in Mumbai, Kolkata and Nagpur.
India’s Test squad:
Mahendra Singh Dhoni (capt), Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Cheteshwar Pujara, Sachin Tendulkar, Virat Kohli, Yuvraj Singh, Ajinkya Rahane, Ravichandran Ashwin, Pragyan Ojha, Harbhajan Singh, Zaheer Khan, Umesh Yadav, Ishant Sharma, Murali Vijay.
Coach: Duncan Fletcher (ZIM)