Former Chairman of Selectors, Sandeep Patil has called out of favor Indian middle-order batsman Yuvraj Singh as a “God’s gift” to Indian cricket but conceded that for him to participate in the 2019 World Cup, he must be in form and should work on his fitness. Following his ouster from the Sri Lanka series, Yuvraj wasn’t included in the squad for the first 3 ODI’s against Australia. But Patil seemed optimistic about another comeback saying “Fitness and form” will be the key to the veteran cricketer’s future in international cricket.

“I am not the selector now. Two years is too long a period and the kind of injuries you have seen, there is too much workload on each player,” Patil further added.

Yuvraj who last played for India during the ODI series in Windies became only the 5th Indian player to represent the nation in 300 or more ODI’s when he took the field against Bangladesh in the ICC Champions Trophy Semi-Final.

“Yuvraj was like a God’s gift, I have been his ardent fan and I will remain an ardent fan of Yuvraj. But he has to put runs on the board and he has to prove his fitness,” Patil said. The former chairman also called Dhoni “a special cricketer”. Dhoni was in tremendous form in the ODI series against Sri Lanka both with the bat and behind the stumps/

“It will be looked after by the professionals, who are working with the Indian team, so it will be wrong on my part to say what is going to happen with Dhoni, Yuvraj. But they are special cricketers, I wish I had even five percent of what they (kind of talent) have,” Patil said.

India had to go through a transitional period when Patil headed the Selection Committee between 2012-2016. With the retirement of stalwarts like Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, and VVS Laxman it became a very difficult task for the selectors to replace the legends.

“We had a very difficult task of replacing players such as Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag, Zaheer Khan and get these youngsters. Somewhere, in my mind, I am very happy that the bold decisions which we took are giving tremendous results.”

He also praised the rise of all-rounder Hardik Pandya but conceded that it will take him 200 births to emulate the great Kapil Dev. He also lauded the selectors for resting Ashwin and Jadeja who are the primary spinners for the team especially in the longest format of the game. Patil also heaped praises on the team who is going through a purple patch and recently created history by becoming the 1st team to whitewash a host nation across formats.

“Indian team is at the top now, they are in top form, they are in top fitness, the combination, everything is going right. But, if you look at the history of cricket, about every 10 years things changed,” Patil signed off.

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