Yuvraj, Nehra included in India squad for Australia tour

Veterans Yuvraj Singh and Ashish Nehra made a comeback to the Indian squad after being included in the list of 16 probables for next month’s limited overs tour to Australia.

The duo have only been selected for the Twenty20 International (T20I) matches for the January 12-31 tour and will not feature in the One Day Internationals (ODI).

Yuvraj made a successful comeback thanks to a strong performances in the ongoing Vijay Hazare Trophy, where he is currently the third-highest scorer with 341 runs at an average of 85.25. Nehra, meanwhile, made the cut as the selectors felt that his experience would prove useful in Australia.

“Keeping in mind the World T20 lot of players, this was a chance to pick for the World T20 and use it as a platform. The players who were not selected were also discussed. We have extended the talent pool,” selection committee chairman Sandip Patil said.

“Yuvi is special and captain Dhoni is happy to have him back. We can’t guarantee him a place in the playing XI, but he will get chances to perform. Nehra is a consistent performer in the T20 format. He will be useful in the team. We will need experienced players in the T20 WC. Australia tour perfect chance to give them a shot,” he added.

Experienced batsman Suresh Raina and off-spinner Harbhajan Singh have been dropped from the ODI squad. But the duo have been retained for the T20Is. Raina was off-colour during the home series against South Africa, notching up a total of just 68 runs in five innings.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ambati Rayudu, Mohit Sharma and Amit Mishra have also been dropped from the ODI squad. All-rounder Stuart Binny has been dropped from both squads.

Several new faces were introduced as the selectors made six changes to the T20I squad that lost 2-0 to South Africa in October,

Rookie pacers Rishi Dhawan, Brainder Singh Sran and all-rounder Hardik Pandya received their first call-ups to the national side. Pandya, who is also a useful medium-pacer, and Sran have been in good form in the domestic circuit this season.

Young pacer Gurkeerat Singh Mann has been retained in the squad. Mann was in the India squad for the ODI and T20I series at home against South Africa, but is yet to make his international debut.

With the Indians expected to encounter pace-friendly conditions in Australia, the inclusion of the young pacers is clearly an attempt to shore up the fast bowling department.

The fit-again Mohammed Shami is also expected to strengthen the fast bowling department.

The selectors also announced that Mahendra Singh Dhoni will continue to lead the Indian ODI and T20 teams till the World T20 Championship which is to be held in India in March-April next year.

India are scheduled to play five ODIs and 3 T20Is in Australia.

ODI squad: Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, Manish Pandey, MS Dhoni (C) (Wk), Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Mohd. Shami, Axar Patel, Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav, Gurkeerat Singh Mann, Rishi Dhawan, Brainder Singh Sran.

T20I squad: Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, Yuvraj Singh, MS Dhoni (C) (Wk), Suresh Raina, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Mohd. Shami, Harbhajan Singh, Umesh Yadav, Hardik Pandya, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ashish Nehra.