Bengaluru, Jan 6: On Friday (January 6), Virat Kohli was officially announced as India's limited overs captain. This was no surprise. But the the inclusion of veterans Yuvraj Singh and Ashish Nehra did raise a few eyebrows!
When Mahendra Singh Dhoni stepped down as India's One Day International and Twenty20 International skipper on Wednesday (January 4), it was hailed as a great decision. Many experts felt it was right time for Kohli to take over and build a team for ICC World Cup 2019 in England. (Twitter reactions on Yuvraj's comeback)
When the MSK Prasad-led selection committee unveiled the ODI and T20I squads today for the home series against England, Yuvraj and Nehra's names surprised many.
If Kohli was building a team then why would the selection panel go back and pick players who are above 35 years of age. Yuvraj is 35 and Nehra 37.
Both Yuvraj and Nehra last played for India in World T20 in 2016 at home. Yuvraj returned to both ODI and T20I squads while Nehra was in the latter side. Yuvraj has not played ODI since December 2013.
Yuvraj, who got married in November 2016, has received a belated wedding gift from the BCCI selectors. Or is it from the new captain Kohli? Usually selectors consult captain and the coach (Anil Kumble) before selecting teams.
Prasad justified Yuvraj's selection, saying it was for his good Ranji Trophy showings. "We should appreciate the way Yuvi has played in domestic cricket (Ranji Trophy). He played some fantastic innings, he got a double hundred (260), he got 180 in the Lahli wicket. We appreciate it and have given him a chance," he said.
Both Kohli and Yuvraj are good friends. Kohli wanted the all-rounder in the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) squad and bought him for a whopping Rs 14 crore (most expensive at the time) at the Indian Premier League (IPL) Players' Auction in 2014. However, Yuvraj did not deliver much for RCB and he was subsequently released.
With only 3 ODIs left before the ICC Champions Trophy in June, India have very little time to try out combinations. Whether Yuvraj features in the scheme of things for Champions Trophy or not is yet to be seen.
The 6 games against England might be last chance for Yuvraj to be a permanent member in the Indian team.
When he was written off, Yuvraj has risen again. This time, he might have to thank Kohli for the opportunity.