India named Mahendra Singh Dhoni as their limited-overs captain for next year’s World Twenty20 at home while also throwing a lifeline for batsman Yuvraj Singh’s international career by including him in the shortest format for the Australia tour.
India lost the one-day international and Twenty20 series against South Africa at home under Dhoni, who retired from Tests during the Australia tour last year, paving the way for Virat Kohli to take over as captain in the five-day format.
With Kohli’s side registering their first Test series win in 23 years in Sri Lanka and handing South Africa their first away series defeat in nine years, there was speculation the 27-year-old would also be handed the reins in the shorter formats.
“Lot of speculation, lot of questions, lot of stories were going around. So the selectors wanted to send a very clear cut message to all… that who’s going to be our leader,” chairman of selectors Sandeep Patil told reporters last Saturday (19).
India will play five ODIs and three T20 matches in Australia from January 12-31. The World Twenty20 – to be hosted by India – begins on March 8 with the final slated for April 3 in Kolkata.
All-rounder Yuvraj, who last played for India in their 2014 World Twenty20 final loss to Sri Lanka, has shown strong form during the domestic season.
The left-handed batsman, adjudged the best player during India’s 50-over World Cup triumph at home in 2011, will always remain a “special player”, Patil said.
“Selectors are very happy, the captain is very happy to have him back. We cannot promise any player whether he will be part of the next tour or the World Cup,” former India batsman Patil said, responding to a question about Yuvraj’s future.
“We want every player to perform and every player will have a chance to be part of the team.”
Also making a comeback to the T20 team was 36-year-old left-arm fast bowler Ashish Nehra, who last played for India in 2011 while paceman Mohammed Shami and Ravindra Jadeja were also recalled to the ODI and T20 squads.
Shami has completed his recovery from a knee injury that kept him out since the World Cup earlier this year while Jadeja was rewarded for his strong showing on the domestic circuit and the Test series against South Africa.
Batsman Suresh Raina was dropped from the 50-over format while batsman Ambati Rayudu, all-rounder Stuart Binny and leg-spinner Amit Mishra were dropped from both squads.
The ODI squad featured left-arm paceman Brainder Balbirsingh Sran, batsman Gurkeerat Singh Mann and all-rounder Rishi Dhawan, all of whom are yet to play for India while uncapped all-rounder Hardik Pandya was included in the T20 squad.
One-day squad: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (capt), Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, Manish Pandey, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Mohammed Shami, Axar Patel, Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav, Gurkeerat Singh, Rishi Dhawan and Brainder Sran.
Twenty20 squad: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (captain), Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, Yuvraj Singh, Suresh Raina, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Mohammed Shami, Harbhajan Singh, Umesh Yadav, Hardik Pandya, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Ashish Nehra.