The axe has fallen on another senior India player. After Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir and Harbhajan Singh, the national selectors have put Yuvraj Singh in the firing line.

The Sandeep Patil-headed selection panel, which met on Tuesday at the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) headquarters, decided to drop the 2011 World Cup Player of the Tournament from the New Zealand tour where India will play five ODIs starting January 19 at Napier followed by two Tests.

Given Yuvraj’s woeful form, the southpaw was expected to be dropped for the tour to Kiwiland. He has struggled against pace and was troubled by Mitchell Johnson when Australia toured India for an ODI series last year. Yuvraj managed just 19 runs in four innings in that series. He could not make an impact against the West Indies too, scoring 99 from three matches.

Unfortunate in SA

Last month’s three-ODI series against South Africa where India lost 0-2 must have been the final straw. The Punjab batter departed before opening his account in the first match at Johannesburg. He was not a part of the playing XI in the second ODI and did not get a chance to bat in the final match after weather forced a no-result. Yuvraj’s best score in the ongoing Ranji Trophy season has been 40 in three games.

Overall, Yuvraj has failed to have the kind of impact he had before being treated for cancer. Ever since making a comeback to competitive cricket after recovering from the dreaded disease in September 2012, Yuvraj is yet to score a ton in international cricket.

All that he has managed is a couple of half-centuries in ODIs (five series) and T20s (five series) and one fifty in three Tests. Clearly, the selectors have lost patience. However, Pravin Amre, who coached Yuvraj Singh at Pune Warriors India, was disappointed. “He is a match-winner. We all know when in form, Yuvraj can win you matches single-handedly. I think the selectors are looking at the 2015 World Cup,” Amre told MiD DAY.

This is not the end for Yuvraj, stressed Amre: “I don’t think everything is over for Yuvi. He is a fighter. If he can win against cancer, he can surely reclaim his place in the team. He is still determined to play at the highest level. He has a lot to contribute in ODIs and T20s. He is genuine all-rounder.”

Meanwhile, the selectors decided to pack the side with six pacemen for the two Tests against New Zealand. They added rookie Ishwar Pandey to the existing lot which played the Tests in South Africa recently. In the ODIs, Mohit Sharma and Umesh Yadav were replaced by Pandey and Varun Aaron.

Karnataka all-rounder Stuart Binny, whose father Roger is a national selector, got Yuvraj’s spot in the ODI team. Left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha, who did not get a game in South Africa, was left out of the Test team to New Zealand.

“We had over two hours of discussions and after a lot of deliberation, we have selected this team. We definitely have the 2015 World Cup on mind. But this team was picked considering the requirements of the team and recent performances,” BCCI secretary Sanjay Patel told reporters.

Courtesy: Mid Day

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