Yuvraj Singh dropped; Binny, Ishwar picked for New Zealand tour

All-rounder Yuvraj Singh was axed from India’s ODI squad owing to his poor performance in South Africa even as rookies such as Ishwar Pandey and Stuart Binny got their maiden call-ups for India’s tour of New Zealand starting with a one-day series from January 19.

Yuvraj, who got out to a second-ball duck the only time he came out to bat in the lost three-match ODI series against South Africa, was replaced by Stuart Binny, son of former India all-rounder Roger Binny.

Binny, 29, has played 53 first-class matches for Karnataka and scored 2714 runs at an average of 34.79, besides taking 79 wickets.

Another surprise inclusion in the team was Madhya Pradesh seamer Ishwar Pandey, who has been drafted into both the ODI and Test squad.

Fit-again pacer Varun Aaron, 24, has made a comeback to the ODI squad replacing Mohit Sharma, who failed to impress in South Africa. If he makes it to the final XI of the five-match ODI series against New Zealand, it would be Aaron’s first 50-over appearance for India after 2011.

The Test team was not altered too much with Ishwar coming in place of Pragyan Ojha being the only change made to the 17-member squad for the two-match series against the Kiwis starting February 10 in Auckland after a two-day practice match.

Interestingly, Ojha did not get a single game in the two-match series against South Africa which India lost 0-1 yesterday.

The 24-year-old Ishwar, who replaces Ojha, has played 31 first-class matches, grabbing 131 wickets at an average of 24.43.

The rest of the Test line-up has been left untouched with R Ashwin, who did not impress much with his bowling, holding on to his place despite the conditions in New Zealand being not too conducive for slow bowlers.

While Murali Vijay, Ajinkya Rahane and Virat Kohli picked themselves after fine performances in the trying tour of South Africa, Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma have managed to retain the selectors’ faith despite coming a cropper.

Senior pacer Zaheer Khan would once again spearhead the Indian pace attack in Tests with Ishant Sharma, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Shami and Pandey to support him on the seaming tracks of New Zealand.

The ODI squad also sports a pace-heavy look but the spearhead’s role would be taken over byIshant as Zaheer will not play in the five-match series.

The batting line-up remains more or less the same except for Binny coming in to take Yuvraj’s place. The specialist all-rounder’s role continues to belong to Ravindra Jadeja, who shone with the ball but disappointed with the bat in South Africa.

The tour of New Zealand will start with the first ODI in Napier, followed by matches in Hamilton (Jan 22 and Jan 28), Auckland (Jan 25) and Wellington (Jan 31).

The Indians will play a two-day warm-up match in Whangharei from February 2 followed by the two-match Test series in Auckland (Feb 6 to 10) and Wellington (Feb 14 to 18).

Test squad: MS Dhoni (capt & wk), M Vijay, Shikhar Dhawan, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane, Ravindra Jadeja, Zaheer Khan, Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma, Ambati Rayudu, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, R Ashwin, Umesh Yadav, Wriddhiman Saha(wk), Ishwar Pandey.

ODI squad: MS Dhoni (capt & wk), Shikhar Dhawan, Suresh Raina, Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane, Stuart Binny, Ravindra Jadeja, R Ashwin, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami, Ambati Rayudu, Ishwar Pandey, Ishant Sharma, Varun Aaron, Amit Mishra.