Yuvraj, who last played for India against England in an ODI in Dharamsala last January, was recalled after a string of fantastic scores for India A against West Indies A and a solid display for India Blue in the recently-concluded NKP Salve Challenger Series.
Yuvraj scored 337 runs in five List A matches at an average of 67.40 with a highest score of 123 against the touring Caribbean side. He also scored a quickfire 52 against West Indies A in a T20 game in Bangalore.
With his more than useful left-arm spin as back-up, Yuvraj is certain to play an important role in that Indian bowling line-up in the middle overs.
Yuvraj replaced Dinesh Karthik, who didn’t do much since his comeback save a lone half century in the Champions Trophy.
Opener Murali Vijay, who hasn’t set the limited overs stage on fire was also dropped from the squad announced by the selection committee headed by Sandeep Patil.
One of the notable exclusions was pacer Umesh Yadav, who didn’t do his case a world of good by performing poorly in the Challenger Series giving away 67 runs in 10 overs and a whopping 85 runs in 9 overs respectively in the two matches he played for India Red.
Bengal speedster Mohammed Shami, seasoned Karnataka seamer Ranganath Vinay Kumar and promising Saurashtra left-arm seamer Jaydev Unadkat were retained from the pace attack that played its last international series in Zimbabwe.
Haryana paceman Mohit Sharma was dropped from the squad while Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Ishant Sharma made a comeback after well deserved rest. Bhuvneshwar bowled India Blue to Challenger Series triumph with a four-wicket haul in the final.
Young Jammu and Kashmir all-rounder Perveez Rasool made way for senior off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin while Amit Mishra held on to his place in the squad having taken 18 wickets in the last series against Zimbabwe.
The reserve batsman’s place in the squad was a battle between Ambati Rayudu and Ajinkya Rahane with very little to choose between them.
In the end, Rayudu who now plays for Baroda in Ranji Trophy, got the nod ahead of the Mumbaikar.
According to a reliable source, the names of senior pros Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir did not even come up for discussion but the selectors will be keenly following their performance in the four-day match against the West Indies A in Hubli, Karnataka from Wednesday.
Squad (1 T20 International and first 3 ODIs):
India: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (capt), Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Suresh Raina, Yuvraj Singh, Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ishant Sharma, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ranganath Vinay Kumar, Mohammed Shami, Jaydev Unadkat, Amit Mishra, Ambati Rayudu.