Fighter in the fold: Yuvraj makes the first grade, named in list of 30 probables’ for T20 World Cup

2011 World Cup hero and India’s flamboyant batsman Yuvraj Singh, who braved cancer to get back on to the field, was named in the 30 probables’ list for the World T20 championship to be held this September in Sri Lanka. The national selectors also named Harbhajan Singh and L. Balaji among the probables, says a report in The Hindu, adding that also making the list are Mandeep Singh, Naman Ojha and Ambati Rayudu, all rewarded for their performances in the Indian Premier League (IPL) this season. The list will be pruned to a squad of 15 in due course.

The selectors feel Yuvraj doesn’t have to prove his worth in the side. The only concern remains is his match-fitness. The selectors would ideally like him to play some competitive cricket before they take the final call. “Yuvraj is a fighter. Let us not forget he won us the World Cup. There is plenty of time left for T20 World Cup. We hope he recovers to make the team. If he is fit he will be a great asset to the Indian team,” said National chief selector K. Srikkanth.

“If I am not feeling 500 per cent fit, I would not risk a return to international cricket,” Yuvraj had told mediapersons here earlier this month. “May be, I can play the two T20 matches (on Sept. 8 at Visakhapatnam and on Sept. 11 in Chennai) against New Zealand and see how I feel. I really felt motivated when Srikkanth said that I was under consideration for the World T20 championship,” was how Yuvraj had put it.

Meanwhile a report in The Indian Express says that four months after undergoing the final round of chemotherapy during his cancer treatment, Yuvraj Singh has made it to the list of 30 probables, picked on Wednesday, for the September-October World T20 in Sri Lanka. While this is seen as an important first step towards his comeback to the Indian team, the month ahead will be crucial for the left-hander as he races against time to be fit and make it to the final 15.

“For Yuvraj the deadline wouldn’t be September 19, the day India play their World T20 opener against Afghanistan but August 18, the last date ICC has set for participating nations to name their squads. This also means Yuvraj’s earlier comeback plan of testing his form and fitness during the two T20s games against New Zealand in the second week of September now needs to be tweaked,” says the report.

The only competitive games that Yuvraj can play before mid-August will be the four-day KSCA Invitational tournament in Bangalore or the two three-day tournaments — Buchi Babu tournament in Chennai and Moin-ud-dullah in Hyderabad. Subsequently, the national selectors can ask Yuvraj to undergo a fitness test at the National Cricket Academy, Bangalore and take a final call on India’s proven match-winner.

According to a report in The Times Of India, the southpaw, who staged a brave recovery from germ-cell tumour, has made the first cut. The Srikkanth-led committee picked the 30-year-old in a 30-man preliminary squad for the World Twenty20 to be played in the Island Nation from September 18 to October 7.

Yuvraj, who has not played competitive cricket since the two home Tests against the West Indies in November, only recently began training at the National Cricket Academy in Bangalore. The squad for the biennial tournament, the inaugural edition of which was won by India in 2007, must be finalised by mid-August.

Yuvraj was man of the tournament in India's victorious 2011 World Cup campaign and was also the architect of India's World T20 win in 2007, where he smashed the fastest fifty in international cricket off 12 balls by smashing England seamer Stuart Broad for six sixes in an over in Durban. If he is fit enough to make the final squad, he will be welcomed by the team which failed to progress beyond the Super Eights of the last two editions of the tournament, in England and West Indies respectively.

The probables: Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Suresh Raina, R. Ashwin, Pragyan Ojha, Umesh Yadav, Ashok Dinda, Ajinkya Rahane, Manoj Tiwary, Rahul Sharma, Vinay Kumar, Zaheer Khan, Yuvraj Singh, Robin Uthappa, Irfan Pathan, Yusuf Pathan, Mandeep Singh, Piyush Chawla, Ravindra Jadeja, Shikhar Dhawan, Ambati Rayudu, Harbhajan Singh, Munaf Patel, Naman Ojha, Dinesh Karthik, Praveen Kumar and L Balaji.