Yuvraj Singh will have a lot to prove when he leads the Rest of India side in the Irani Cup. On Monday, the national selection committee dumped the left-hander, a move that indicated that the days of Yuvraj Singh living on reputation rather than form were over, at least in the Test squad. Yuvraj hasn’t scored an international century in over a year and his fitness has come under the scanner over this year, a period during which he has struggled with injuries.
Selection committee chairman Krish Srikkanth said the criteria for selecting the team was performance and fitness. “We don’t have to give any particular reason (for dropping Yuvraj). I think, performance and fitness... everything is taken into account. That itself answers the question,” Srikkanth said.
Srikkanth said by virtue of his fine performance in the domestic circuit, Pujara has powered his way into the national squad. “Pujara has done very well in the domestic circuit in the last couple of seasons. He is a good player and also did well in the ‘A’ series. With the sheer weightage of his performace he has muscled his way into the team. You will have to give credit to his domestic performance,” he said. “We have given weightage to performance in domestic A series and it is not that overall performance of every player hasn’t been taken into account. We have consulted (coach) Gary Kirsten and MS Dhoni and ultimately, this was the consensus,” the chairman of selectors added.
Mithun out, Sreesanth in
While Pujara’s inclusion was the story of the day, the exclusion of young seamer Abhimanyu Mithun was the only other talking point as the selection committee banked more on experience than on current form with the ball. Getting the nod was S Sreesanth, Zaheer Khan, coming back after a shoulder injury. Ishant Sharma, spinners Amit Mishra, Pragyan Ojha, Harbhajan Singh retained their places. Murali Vijay, in his limited appearances, has done enough to merit his reserve opener role .
Sreesanth, on his part was delighted to get another opportunity. “I am sure I will be able to perform well against Australia. I will give my full effort,” Sreesanth said. “I have not played against Australia in Test matches. Australia is a top Test side but I am hoping for a good performance in the series,” he said.
Srikkanth said they have selected a balanced team. “We have a strong