Cricket-India's Yuvraj back for England tests

MUMBAI Mon Nov 5, 2012 3:36pm IST

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MUMBAI Nov 5 (Reuters) - India have named Yuvraj Singh in their squad for the first two tests against England, marking the all-rounder's return to the five-day game following treatment for cancer.

Yuvraj, who will turn 31 next month, underwent chemotherapy in the United States for a rare form of lung cancer earlier this year.

He returned to international cricket in September in a Twenty20 match against New Zealand before playing in the World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka.

The swashbuckling left-hander smashed a double hundred in his return to first-class cricket last month, and then took five wickets to add to a half-century against England in a warm-up game last week.

Yuvraj, who played the last of his 37 tests in November 2011, will be the favourite to seal the number six slot in the Indian batting order when the first of four tests against England begins in Ahmedabad on Nov. 15.

Experienced off-spinner Harbhajan Singh, who was dropped after the England tour last year for poor form, was added to the squad along with off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin and left-arm tweaker Pragyan Ojha.

Harbhajan, with over 400 wickets in tests, has surrendered the role of the slow-bowling spearhead to Ashwin but was picked despite any notable performances in domestic cricket.

The new selection committee, headed by Sandeep Patil, dropped left-hander Suresh Raina, who led the India A side in the warm-up against England, and included Murali Vijay as the third opener after a strong domestic show.

Destructive opener Virender Sehwag and left-arm seamer Zaheer Khan were also named in the 15-man squad despite some injury concerns.

Zaheer, Umesh Yadav and Ishant Sharma, who was included after his return from a successful ankle surgery, will be the three seamers in the squad.

The second test will be played in Mumbai from Nov. 23 with the third and fourth tests in Kolkata and Nagpur respectively.

Squad: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (captain), Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Murali Vijay, Cheteshwar Pujara, Sachin Tendulkar, Virat Kohli, Yuvraj Singh, Ajinkya Rahane, Ravichandran Ashwin, Pragyan Ojha, Harbhajan Singh, Zaheer Khan, Umesh Yadav, Ishant Sharma. (Reporting by Sudipto Ganguly; Editing by Alastair Himmer)

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