The two towering sixes Yuvraj Singh hit in the course of his brisk 36 against the Royal Challengers Bangalore on Friday brought temporary respite, but couldn’t stave off defeat. Yuvraj’s own poor form, coupled with the Kings XI Punjab’s disastrous losing streak, has brought intense scrutiny on the left-handed batsman.
“The allegation that I’m not playing well because I wasn’t made captain is harsh. The suggestion that I’m deliberately underperforming because I was not made captain — I don’t even know if people saying this know the full meaning of the allegation,” Yuvraj told the Hindustan Times. “It’s a very serious thing to say and people should think twice before doing so. After all, tomorrow, if their kids are cricketers and someone says the same, how would they feel? Remember that what goes around comes around.”
<b1>Yuvraj, who lost the Kings XI captaincy to Sri Lanka’s Kumar Sangakkara ahead of IPL-III, says it wasn’t an issue at all. "The captaincy of a team is not something you can demand as a right, it’s a privilege that the selectors or owners extend to someone,” he explained.
"It wasn’t at all difficult for me that I was not given the captaincy. You must remember this has happened to me in the past also. If the owners wanted to change leadership they were more than welcome to do so.”
The allegation that he was “unwanted” by his franchise and that they had complained to the BCCI about his behaviour has already been publicly refuted by Rajiv Shukla, a vice-president of the Board. Yuvraj went one step further. “I can honestly say my franchise have been very good to me.
"They know that we’re all playing our hearts out. The results haven’t stacked up but that happens sometimes in sport. Preity Zinta has been terrific all through. She’s seen how much the game means to us.”
The saturation coverage of Yuvraj’s off-field exploits is not surprising, but the slant given to reports has pinched a nerve. “What’s amusing is how all these things come up when the team is not doing well or when I’m not getting runs. Every day I open the paper and there’s a photo of me surrounded by four models, drinking, partying,” said Yuvraj.
“If you see the papers it appears that I’m the only one doing these things, which is odd considering the players from both teams are at all these IPL Nights parties. The same things were considered cool when I was doing well, now they have all become negatives.”
While Yuvraj has grown accustomed to being written about in less than flattering terms, his mother Shabnam still takes things to heart. “I can read what’s written with amusement and have a laugh. But it’s difficult for my mother,” said Yuvraj. “When she sees something that’s unfair she gets irritated.”
On his lack of runs, Yuvraj has this to say. “What people need to understand is that I’ve been out of action with injuries for 4-5 months. I had fractures to a couple of fingers and then to my wrist. Coming back from something like that is not easy. It’s tougher to assess form in T20 cricket where a batsman doesn’t have the luxury of settling in.”