Star batsman Yuvraj Singh was named in the Indian One-Day International (ODI) and T20 squads for the series against England, led by new skipper Virat Kohli, starting on January 15, BCCI’s Chairman of Selectors M.S.K. Prasad announced here on Friday.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who on Wednesday stepped down as the limited overs skipper, was included in both the squads as a wicketkeeper-batsman.
Yuvraj, 35, last played an ODI in December 2013 but was part of India’s T20 squad last year.
The veteran southpaw’s 672 runs in five Ranji Trophy games for Punjab this season was the reason cited by Prasad for his return to the limited overs squad.
“Yuvraj has performed well at the domestic level and we must appreciate that. You should appreciate the way Yuvraj has played in domestic cricket. He’s got 180 on a green-top Lahli wicket,” Prasad told reporters while announcing the team.
Uncapped Delhi and India Under-19 wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant, who scored 972 runs in the ongoing Ranji Trophy at a strike-rate of 107.28, with four centuries, was the lone new face in the T20 squad.
Middle-order batsman Ajinkya Rahane also returned to the ODI outfit from a fractured finger but surprisingly found himself out of the T20 team.
From India’s previous ODI squad, Amit Mishra, Manish Pandey, Kedar Jadhav, Umesh Yadav and Jasprit Bumrah were retained.
All-rounder Hardik Pandya returned after recovering from injury sustained while part of the Test team in November.
Medium pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar is back for both ODIs and T20s, while veteran Delhi seamer Ashish Nehra is back in the T20 squad having not played since the World Twenty20 last year.
Opening batsman Shikhar Dhawan was also recalled to the ODI team after being out due to injuries by the Board of Control for Cricket in India’s (BCCI) selection panel.
All-rounders Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja, who were rested for the New Zealand ODIs, are also back in the squad. The duo played in the five Tests against England.
Despite the huge workload on both Ashwin and Jadeja in the longest version of the game, and the four-match Test series against Australia to follow, the selectors were forced to include the duo in both the squads following injuries to spin-bowling all-rounders Axar Patel (thumb) and Jayant Yadav (hamstring).
Veteran left-hander Suresh Raina, who was ignored for the England ODIs, found himself in the T20 squad. The southpaw last played for India during the World T20.
Commenting on the composition of the squads, Prasad said: “We have selected the best possible team which can give us the best possible result.”
“After speaking to Kohli, we think this is the best possible team against England in ODIs and T20I,” he added.
On Dhoni’s sudden call to quit as captain of the side, the former India stumper said: “On the last day of Ranji Trophy semis (Jharkhand vs Gujarat) in Nagpur, Dhoni informed BCCI that he plans to step down as captain and wants to move on.”
Haryana leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal has been recalled too, having played all three ODIs and T20Is on the tour of Zimbabwe under Dhoni last summer. Chahal’s 33 wickets in seven matches helped Haryana qualify for the Ranji quarter-finals this season.
The team for the three ODIs: Virat Kohli (captain), Mahendra Singh Dhoni (wicketkeeper), Lokesh Rahul, Shikhar Dhawan, Manish Pandey, Kedar Jadhav, Yuvraj Singh, Ajinkya Rahane, Hardik Pandya, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Amit Mishra, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Umesh Yadav.
The team for the three T20s: Virat Kohli (captain), Mahendra Singh Dhoni (wicketkeeper), Mandeep Singh, Lokesh Rahul, Yuvraj Singh, Suresh Raina, Rishabh Pant, Hardik Pandya, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Yuzvendra Chahal, Manish Pandey, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ashish Nehra.