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When I think of Yuvraj Singh, I recall his unbeaten 84 in just his second one-dayer against the mighty Australians facing quality fast-bowling in the form of Glenn McGrath, Jason Gillespie and Brett Lee.
His knock powered India to an unlikely win. A star was born.
Next, I remember his part in that unprecedented run-chase at Lords in 2002 where he partnered Mohammad Kaif to ensure that a total of 325 would no longer deter any Indian side from running it down with balls to spare. It heralded the age of 300+ totals being par for the course—anywhere.
Yuvraj and Kaif were young guns in that side under Saurav Ganguly’s leadership. Kaif was touted as the next Muslim captain of the Team India. Alas, it was not to be. But that’s another story.
Next, I recall Yuvraj Singh for his six sixes in an over against Stuart Broad at the inaugural Twenty-Twenty World Cup in South Africa in 2007. It was the first time an international player maximised an over in an international game against a Test-playing nation. It served as a wonderful reminder why Yuvraj Singh is often compared to the great Gary Sobers.
But my best memory of Yuvraj Singh remains his knock of 85 not out partnering Sachin Tendulkar to beat England at Chennai in 2008. It showcased glimpses of the possibilities he held out in the longer version of the game.
The Big Four of Indian cricket—Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, VVS Laxman and Saurav Ganguly—ensured that Yuvraj warmed the benches in most Test matches.Despite having appeared in over 250 ODIs, his Test match record is a meagre 34 games at an average of 35.63.
I believed, then, it was just a matter of time before Yuvi would ensconce himself in the Test side marking a place of his own for posterity. But I was to be sorely disappointed.
Injuries, fitness issues and his indifferent form saw him forego his place in the side and his vice-captaincy status.
Then came the infamous water-boy incident in Sri Lanka.
There was more than a hint of truth in that jibe. Yuvraj Singh lost his Test place to Suresh Raina.
But perhaps now, after this World Cup, where Yuvi displayed a consistency and maturity that befits the tag of senior pro, his fans and I will hope anew that this awesomely talented southpaw will fulfil his destiny.
His tweakers add bite to his armoury. His utility to the team is unquestionable.
If Yuvraj Singh has turned the corner, can glory be far behind?
Quote of the day:
Exercise relieves stress. Nothing relieves exercise. – Takayuki Ikkaku, Arisa Hosaka and Toshihiro Kawabata