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Yuvraj due for India comeback

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Yuvraj Singh is set to make an immediate return to international cricket in India’s two Twenty20s at home to New Zealand next month.

Yuvraj, who has been undergoing treatment for a rare form of cancer, is in a 15-man squad for those two games and the World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka that follows. India are England’s second opponents, after Afghanistan, in the initial group stage.

Yuvraj Singh

Yuvraj Singh, pictured here in April, is set to return to international action next month in two Twenty20s at home to New Zealand

The 30-year-old all-rounder last played competitive cricket during November in the Test series with West Indies. He has not partaken in limited-overs internationals since India’s World Cup final victory over Sri Lanka the previous April.

Following the recent announcement of his recovery, his swift return to top-level cricket - without the opportunity of match practice first - is a surprise.

Other unexpected members of the party are spinners Piyush Chawla and Harbhajan Singh plus seamer Lakshmipathy Balaji. The former two last featured for India in 2011 and Balaji, who has not played a T20 international, during 2009.

Harbhajan’s inclusion will cut short his stint with Essex, which was due to be for the second half of the English season.

India have also named a squad for the two Tests versus the Black Caps, which precede the T20s. Batsmen VVS Laxman, Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane plus bowlers Ishant Sharma and Chawla have been included, but out-of-form batsman Rohit Sharma misses out.

Following Rahul Dravid’s retirement, the experienced Laxman is retained despite a lean time in Australia during India’s last Test assignment. Pujara is expected to take over from Dravid.

Ishant is back after ankle surgery, which saw him miss the Indian Premier League.

India World Twenty20 squad: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (captain/wicketkeeper), Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Virat Kohli, Yuvraj Singh, Suresh Raina, Rohit Sharma, Manoj Tiwary, Irfan Pathan, Ravichandran Ashwin, Zaheer Khan, Lakshmipathy Balaji, Piyush Chawla, Harbhajan Singh, Ashok Dinda.

India Test squad: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (captain/wicketkeeper), Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, VVS Laxman, Sachin Tendulkar, Virat Kohli, Cheteshwar Pujara, Suresh Raina, Ajinkya Rahane, Ravichandran Ashwin, Zaheer Khan, Umesh Yadav, Pragyan Ojha, Piyush Chawla, Ishant Sharma.

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