Gambhir and Yuvraj were excluded from the India’s Champions Trophy squad announced on Saturday
Mumbai: Two years after playing major roles in the World Cup final that the hosts won, Gautam Gambhir and Yuvraj Singh find themselves omitted from the India squad for the next major ICC event, the Champions Trophy commencing June 6.
On April 2, 2011, the 31-year-old Gambhir scored 97 off 122 balls and anchored the Indian innings brilliantly during the memorable and successful run-chase against Sri Lanka.
Captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni (91 not out) and Yuvraj (21 not out) then guided the hosts home past Lanka’s 274 with an unfinished fifth-wicket partnership to herald night-long celebrations all over the country.
While Dhoni secured the man of the match award in the summit clash for his blistering knock that included the winning shot, Yuvraj won the man of the series award for his splendid all-round display in cricket’s showpiece event.
However, India’s form in overseas Test matches and ODIs has dipped since that unforgettable day two years ago.
Gambhir and Yuvraj, both 31 and left-handed, under-performed in the previous two ODI rubbers at home against Pakistan in December 2012 and England in January, leading to their sacking.
Gambhir scored 127 runs from five games against England while Yuvraj got 126 from as many. Both the batsmen flopped by scoring an identical 34 runs in three games against Pakistan.
The selectors have wielded the axe on this senior duo for this indifferent display.
The brilliant form of another left handed opener from Delhi, Shikhar Dhawan, who made a sensational Test debut against Australia at Mohali before picking up an injury from which he has recovered now, has given the selectors the opportunity to leave Gambhir out for the present.
However Gambhir, whose form in the IPL too has dipped after he started off the campaign with three half centuries in Kolkata Knight Riders’ first four games, has some hopes of making it back into the squad in the near future.
He has been named as one of the 21 probables for the triangular series in the West Indies, that follows the Champions Trophy, from June 28 to July 11.
Yuvraj, on the other hand, has been cold-shouldered for the ODI tournament in the Caribbean too, after he fought a personal battle against a rare germ cell cancer following his triumphant days in the World Cup and made a comeback.
He returned to the Indian squad after a gap of one year following treatment for the dreaded disease in the United States.
Yuvraj’s poor form which is in contrast with the consistently good performance of a similar player, Ravindra Jadeja, has clearly given the selectors the option to leave Yuvraj out.
Like Punjab’s Yuvraj, Saurashtra’s Jadeja is an attacking left-handed middle-order batsman, effective with his flat left-arm spin and is also a fine fielder either in the in-field or outside.
Yuvraj’s omission for the tri-series in the West Indies, featuring Sri Lanka as the third outfit, has left the batsman with little choice except to try and make another comeback through domestic circuit next season.