Yuvraj was picked to ease burden on MS, says Kohli

Pune: The seasoned Yuvraj Singh was recalled to India’s limited overs teams to lend solidity to an inexperience middle-order and ease the burden on Mahendra Singh Dhoni, captain Virat Kohli said here today.

Yuvraj’s last ODI was against South Africa at Centurion in December 2013. He though played his last T20I versus Australia in Mohali last March.

“Yes, that (experience) is something we have discussed before picking Yuvi because we cannot leave so much burden on MS (Dhoni) alone in the middle order. I am willing to take up responsibility up the order, but there needs to be one more guy with him (Dhoni) down the order in case the top order doesn’t fire,” Kohli said on the eve of the first of three One-Day Internationals against England.

Kohli said the team’s think-tank needed to get its combination right quickly as these were the only games it had in its hands before the Champions Trophy in June.

“If the top order doesn’t fire you are left with MS alone and he is guiding the youngsters more often than not. Which is fine, if you have 15-20 games till a big tournament (begins).

But when you have only three games to prepare for a big tournament, I think you need to get all your resources in place.

“You need to make sure the guys who have been picked are in good form,” said Kohli who added that Ambati Rayudu had also been considered to do this specific job but was injured for a long time.

“So, right now we don’t have the time to nurture the one spot as much because we have a big tournament coming up straightaway, that’s why Yuvi was brought into the team. We had discussed Rayudu as well, but he has been injured for a long time and didn’t have game-time behind him. Yuvi has had a very good first-class season, so obviously he was into the team before anyone else.

“So, I think this just gives the team much more balance in the middle and lower-middle order with MS and Yuvi. They can really guide Kedar (Jadhav) and Hardik (Pandya) still with them, but to have two experienced guys compared to one is a massive difference. I am sure Hardik and Kedar can learn a lot from them, batting along with them.”

According to Kohli, the series was significant in terms of preparing for the Champions Trophy.

“We are taking these three games as knockout games in our own heads because we need to prepare for Champions Trophy and we need to be in the right kind of frame because the tournament is like that – it is very competitive and very quick. So we need to be at our best from game one of the series.

“So, we are not taking these games as trial games. So these three games become all the more crucial. We are not going to be experimenting much with any things. We are going to find the right combinations from game one and then stick to it till the Champions Trophy.