All-rounder Yuvraj Singh, who was Man of the Tournament in India's successful 2011 World Cup campaign, was not far away from an India comeback when the national selectors met in Mumbai yesterday to pick 30 probables for cricket's premier tournament to be held next year in Australia and New Zealand.
Yuvraj Singh. Pic/Getty Images
The selectors, it is learnt, were mindful of the fact that 33-year-old Yuvraj, though not in the best of form, is an experienced and accomplished player.
What probably went against him was his poor showing in the recent Vijay Hazare Trophy in which he managed only 204 runs (@29.14, 50s 1) and four wickets in nine matches for Punjab.
Sources said that Yuvraj was part of a three-horse race with Karnataka's Karun Nair and Tamil Nadu's Test exponent Murali Vijay being the other two contenders, but the selectors and skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni finally decided to include Vijay in the list of probables.
The logic being, in case Vijay hit the high notes in the Test series against Australia, he would be a good man to keep for the World Cup.
It can be recalled that Vijay was flown in as a replacement for the injured Rohit Sharma during the ODI series in England earlier in the year but could be not be accommodated in the playing XI. For the record, he last figured in an ODI in July 2013. His record is poor — 14 ODIs, 253 runs at an average of 19.46.
Sandeep Patil's selection committee comprising Rajinder Singh Hans, Vikram Rathour, Saba Karim and Roger Binny also did not include veterans Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Zaheer Khan and Harbhajan Singh.
It is learnt that Sehwag and Gambhir were not in the selectors' mind space, while Zaheer didn't play any domestic cricket after he suffered a shoulder injury in the last Indian Premier League.
Meanwhile, the BCCI secretary Sanjay Patel was quoted in the media as saying, "the young boys have been selected after due deliberation. The names of the seniors were also discussed but the performance in the domestic circuit and the requirement of the time has been considered."