Yuvraj returns for India

Yuvraj Singh has been re-called to the Indian Test squad for the first Test against Pakistan, to be played at Mohali. His selection comes as a surprise, since Mohammed Kaif, who since the last few months has effectively replaced him in the longer version of the game, has been dropped in his favour.

The selectors seem to have preferred Yuvraj against Kaif, because of the former’s exceptional performances on India’s tour to Pakistan last year, as well as consistent domestic performances while he was being left out.

Sachin Tendulkar makes his way back as well, after missing the Bangladesh series as a result of a persistent elbow injury. There are only two spinners in the 14-member squad, Anil Kumble and Harbhajan Singh, as the Mohali track is suspected to be the least helpful to spinners.

Dinesh Kaarthick retains his spot as the wicket-keeper, after speculations were going around that because of his mediocre batting performances so far in international cricket, he might make way for Mahendra Dhoni.

Dhoni, in fact, has been neglected for the Board President’s XI as well, for the three-day warm-up match against Pakistan at Hyderabad. Instead, Parthiv Patel gets a valuable opportunity to restore some credit, after chinks were found in his technique last year.

Kaif gets the consolation of leading the XI, while either two of Dheeraj Jadhav, Satyajit Parab or Shikhar Dhawan will get an opportunity to knock the selectors door, as a potential threat to Gautam Gambhir’s opening spot in the Test side.

India squad:
Virendar Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, VVS Laxman, Sourav Ganguly (captain), Dinesh Kaarthick (wicket-keeper), Irfan Pathan, Anil Kumble, Harbhajan Singh, Zaheer Khan, Yuvraj Singh, Ashish Nehra, L Balaji.

Board President’s XI:
Dheeraj Jadhav, Satyajit Parab, Shikhar Dhawan, Mohammad Kaif (captain), Venugopal Rao, Suresh Raina, Parthiv Patel (wicket-keeper), Ramesh Powar, Gagandeep Singh, SS Paul, RP Singh, R Ramkumar, Ranadeb Bose, Niraj Patel.

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