MSK Prasad has clarified that Yuvraj Singh had some injury problems and although he passed the yo-yo test, he needs to have some match-time before coming back to contention. The chairman of selectors has also stated that they are focusing on having good pools of "specialist" players for each format.
Before picking the ODI and T20I team for the Sri Lankan series, Prasad had revealed that Yuvraj’s lack of fitness was the main reason behind the veteran not being selected in the team. However, the latter cleared the yo-yo test this month, making a case for himself for a national team selection, but still found himself out of the radar and Shreyas Iyer got the nod ahead of him. While it seems like this is the end of the road for the southpaw, Prasad clarified that he wants Yuvraj to have sufficient game-time.
"With Yuvraj Singh, there were also the fitness issues. I am happy that he has cleared that fitness test. Since he has not played cricket for quite some time, let him have a good match time. We will definitely see him in the times to come," said MSK Prasad after the squad for the T20I series against Sri Lanka was picked, reported PTI.
Like Yuvraj, Ravichandran Ashwin played his last One-Day International in June this year while Ravindra Jadeja last played an ODI in July during the tour of West Indies. For the limited-overs series in Sri Lanka, they were left out of the squad and the reasoning behind that was they had been 'rested' and the 'rest' has extended further with both not picked in the ODI squad for the six-match series in South Africa. Their replacements - Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, and Axar Patel - have done exceedingly well and that might help in Virat Kohli making up his mind without the veteran duo.
While Prasad acknowledged that both Ashwin and Jadeja are still in the scheme of things, he also said they are looking to create specialists for every format. Prasad's statement meant that both Jadeja and Ashwin are being looked at as Test specialists while Chahal, Kuldeep, and Axar are marked for limited-overs cricket.
"We are moving towards that direction where we want specialists for different formats. We are targeting that in all three formats we should be number one. Since the Champions Trophy, we have tried the new boys and they have been doing well. It's a unanimous decision that these boys should be given an extended run. It's not like there are no roles for Ashwin and Jadeja. When we picked these three guys, we wanted to increase a bench strength in the spin department. Today, I am sure that all of us will accept that we have quality 5-6 spinners who are aiming for the slots.
"We are trying quite a lot of boys so that after this series we will have a core team. Probably from the England series, we'll have a core team. We'll fix up certain members and then take it from there on.
"Axar has been doing really well. Even in the 'A' series in South Africa, he did really well. That's why we want to continue with him. At the end of the day, we want to try different permutations and combinations before we fix up a core team, that's why we are giving him an extended run," Prasad added further.
However, the chief selector refused to shut the door on the prospect of Ashwin and Jadeja returning to the limited-overs side. He believed that with the amount of cricket the two spinners play, they'll be able to adapt when the chance comes their way.
"We have enough game time coming up for them (Ashwin and Jadeja). The limited-overs tournament will start soon. They have played enough cricket and they have enough wickets under their belt," he said. "The only issue is that Kuldeep and Chahal are winning games for you. And since they are doing that, it only makes sense to give them an extended run and continue with them for some time."