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by Mayukh Bhattacharya Friday 20 January 2017
Limited overs cricket is not much of a bowlers game anymore. It wasn’t much of a bowler’s game when Yuvraj Singh took Stuart Broad to the cleaners in the inaugural T20 World Cup in 2007 either. Between now and then though, a lot has changed. Broad is no longer a part of the limited overs scheme of things for England, while Yuvraj won a World Cup, battled cancer and has just made another comeback to the team at a time people thought his career was over. With the onset of 2017, came another opportunity for Yuvraj to prove his worth against England - and boy did he grab it with both hands!
There are few better sights in world cricket than seeing Yuvraj Singh bat. His drives are as elegant as they can get and his pull shots stamp his authority. He scored a hundred after almost six years and this would probably be an innings which he would look back at with the greatest satisfaction. He turned back the clock to the time when he used to annihilate the bowlers and he certainly did so today. There were no slog sweeps going over the boundary but that was just about the only shot that was missing from his innings. The cover drives were sublime, the pull shots were ferocious. A couple of lofted drives easily cleared the ropes and that showed how well he timed the ball.
It’s never easy to make a comeback when you are on the other side of 30. Each performance is scrutinized and a couple of low scores would have surely meant curtains for Yuvraj’s career. While he looked good in the first ODI, he got out nicking one down the leg side. With limited opportunities before the Champions Trophy, a low score in the second ODI would not only have dented Yuvraj’s chances of making it to the squad, but would have also raised questions about the selectors decision to go back to him.
His score of 150 in the second ODI against England was easily the most fluent innings we have seen from him in a while. His IPL form over the last few seasons hasn’t been great either. The writing was almost on the wall. However, deep inside Yuvraj knew he had unfinished business. He certainly did not want the crowd to remember him as someone who could never match the standards he set himself in the 2011 World Cup. The celebration after he reached his hundred today bore testimony to that fact. He believed in his abilities and so did the team management and selectors.
With one more ODI to go and the series sealed, India would be hoping that Yuvraj can repeat this magic in the matches to come. The fact that he shared a 250 run partnership with Mahendra Singh Dhoni would have also rekindled some of the old memories of the fans. For now, it can be safe to say that as long as Yuvraj is going strong, India’s middle order looks formidable!
© Cricket World 2017