Yuvi out, Pandey in with a chance

Yuvi out, Pandey in with a chance

Yuvi out, Pandey in with a chance

During India’s practice session on Wednesday afternoon here, Yuvraj Singh’s absence was conspicuous.

The left-handed batsman had twisted his left ankle during India’s successful chase against Australia in Mohali on Sunday and the suspense over his availability for India’s semifinal ended after he was ruled out of the tournament. The ICC’s Event Technical Committee approved Manish Pandey, who had been flown in here on Monday evening, as Yuvraj’s replacement on Wednesday.

On the evidence of his performance in the four matches in this event so far and before that it’s hard to judge the impact his unavailability will have on the team, but his exit at this stage has also raised questions about his future in the Indian team.

“It will have an impact because he's had his moments,” said team director Ravi Shastri on missing Yuvraj. “I thought his three overs were brilliant in the last game (against Australia). It put the brakes on the scoring and allowed us to come back in the game. Because after the first four overs, it was a no contest — it looked 200, 220, which would have been very difficult to chase on that surface. It's an injury that happened during the game when he was looking to take off, and I believe it's a minor tear on the ankle. We'll miss him,” he explained.

Yuvraj, along with Ashish Nehra, was brought back into the Indian T20 squad with the home World T20 in mind. The move to bring back these veterans was termed regressive but Nehra has been impressive operating both up front and in the death overs while Yuvraj has had his moments in the sun since his comeback in Australia in January.

With short-term goal of World T20 over, it’s hard to find a place for both these veterans, especially Yuvraj. The Punjab batsman is 34 and India aren’t playing many T20 Internationals in the near future. Also, with the next edition of World T20 scheduled only in 2020 in Australia, he will be pushing 38 and it’s almost impossible to imagine that the all-rounder will be around to be picked in the squad.

Cut to Thursday’s game, it could be a direct shoot-out between Ajinkya Rahane and Pandey for the vacant slot in the playing 11.

“We've not decided,” said Shastri when asked about possible replacement. “Manish has just joined the party. We'll take a good look at everything in the nets and see what's the best option for Thursday.”