Zaheer, Yuvraj and Harbhajan dropped


India have dropped Zaheer Khan, Yuvraj Singh and Harbhajan Singh for the Nagpur Test. Delhi fast bowler Parvinder Awana and Saurashtra allrounder Ravindra Jadeja have received their first call-ups, and legspinner Piyush Chawla replaced Harbhajan.
Zaheer’s is the biggest fall. This is the first time he has been dropped from the Test side after his rousing comeback in 2006-07. He has taken 15 wickets in eight Tests in 2012 at a strike rate of 98 balls per wicket. In this series, he has taken four scalps at a strike rate of 133. Moreover, his fielding has been below par for some time. His replacement, Awana, took 5 for 81 against Karnataka in a Ranji Trophy match a day before the selection meeting. Reputed to be brisk, Awana has taken 21 Ranji wickets at an average of 21.57 this season.
Yuvraj, called back after a double-century in the Duleep Trophy was deemed enough to prove his fitness, did not take his chance either. He scored 125 runs in five innings in the series. He has now played 40 Tests over various comebacks for three centuries and an average of 33.92.
Yuvraj’s replacement, Jadeja, recently scored his third first-class triple-century in 13 months. He was dropped from India’s limited-overs squads earlier this year, but the two triples in one month this season and 18 Ranji wickets at 23.72 have put him ahead of Rohit Sharma and Manoj Tiwary in the queue for a middle-order slot. Even as the squad was being debated, Tiwary was busy rescuing Bengal with 55 out of Bengal’s score of 112. Four of their wickets, though, fell to Jadeja. Tiwary retired-hurt with a pulled muscle, but that happened after the squad was announced.
Harbhajan was recalled for the Tests without any improvement shown in domestic cricket, but a lacklustre show in Mumbai means he will be stuck on 99 Tests for a while. Not that his replacement, Chawla, has set the domestic scene on fire, with nine wickets at an average of 48.33.
Awana and Jadeja made it to the T20 side too. Uttar Pradesh allrounder Bhuvneshwar Kumar joined them in place of the injured Irfan Pathan. Virender Sehwag and Zaheer, left out of T20 squad, were unavailable for reasons the BCCI didn’t state. Ajinkya Rahane took Sehwag’s place. Harbhajan has been dropped for T20s as well.