The national selection committee on Thursday picked up a fourth string 14-member Board President's XI squad for the warm-up game against Australia, making it clear that Yuvraj Singh is now not a part of even the top 74 cricketers in the country. The selection pattern would indicate that the top 15, which decimated Sri Lanka, are set to be retained for the Australia series with may be a minor change, while the Duleep Trophy has forced the three 'wise men' to name the next 45 players for the day/night pink ball experiment.
Another veteran Suresh Raina found a place in that 45, which means he is on the selectors' radar.
That made it top 60 players in the country, which left the selectors with no option but to pick some rookie IPL as well as Vijay Hazare Trophy performers.
Yuvraj did not even find a place in this batch of 14. So that makes him outside the top 74 players in the country.
"Yuvraj's fitness standards have fallen drastically and coach Ravi Shastri and skipper Virat Kohli has time and again indicated that a certain fitness standard is a must to make the cut in the national team. The selectors want to look ahead and so does the team management," a BCCI official, privy to selection matters, told PTI today.
The Prasad-led committee selected a 14-member team that comprises some of the IPL performers like Rahul Tripathi, Nitish Rana and MS Washington Sundar along with completely unknown entities like Delhi's left-arm quick Kulwant Khejroliya.
Delhi lad Khejroliya is being considered an exciting prospect with his ability to hit mid-140s. He was a part of the Mumbai Indians squad.
The Indian team management is looking for some left-arm fast bowling options and the move to give Khejroliya a game against international side may just be an opportunity to test his talent.
He has played only seven List A games for Delhi last season, taking 17 wickets.
Some like Odisha's Govinda Poddar and UP's Shivam Chaudhary have also been picked based on some decent Vijay Hazare Trophy performances despite not even scoring 500 runs in the first-class season.
Bengal's Shreevats Goswami was picked as the top three scorers for Bengal - Manoj Tiwary, Sudeep Chatterjee and Abhimanyu Easwaran - are playing in the Duleep Trophy.
Shreevats has scored 492 runs last season with his maiden double hundred.
A BCCI official admitted that sudden plans to reinstate Duleep Trophy threw selectors' plans haywire.
"The Duleep Trophy certainly sent the selectors' plans haywire. With Duleep on, this was the best set of domestic players available. People like Rahul and Washington have done well in the IPL while a few like Govinda and Shivam did decently in Vijay Hazare Trophy for their state sides," the BCCI official told PTI on conditions of anonymity.
IPL specialist Mayank Agarwal did not do anything last season but has been picked due to lack of options. Agarwal has also been a big flop in the IPL as well as this year's ongoing Karnataka Premier League but found favour due to his past performances.
India reject Gurkeerat Mann, who failed to make the cut in Duleep teams, has also got a chance.
The fast bowlers have all been picked based on their talent more than wickets. There is Kulwant along with Madhya Pradesh's former India U-19 Avesh Khan and Gujarat's Kushang Patel. Punjab swing bowler Sandeep Sharma is also there in the squad.
There are two left-arm spinners in Tamil Nadu's Rahil Shah and Maharashtra's Akshay Karnewar.
Squad: Rahul Tripathi, Mayank Agarwal, Shivam Chaudhary, Nitish Rana, Govinda Poddar, Gurkeerat Mann, Shreevats Goswami, Akshay Karnewar, Kulwant Khejroliya, Kushang Patel, Avesh Khan, Sandeep Sharma, Washington Sundar, Rahil Shah. Coach: Hemang Badani.
(With PTI Inputs)