Earphones on, Yuvraj Singh stepped out of the team bus on Friday with a melancholic look, oblivious to the cheers of the fans.
From here on, the practice session ahead of Saturday’s T20 match against New Zealand was going to be a crucial test. Cameras were constantly focused on the cricketer making a comeback after a battle with cancer.
The start was iffy. He didn’t run in the warm-up football match. The weight he has gained made that difficult. Skipper MS Dhoni tried to involve him in the game by passing him one to score. He floundered. But when Yuvraj managed to get a goal, all his teammates cheered.
After just 20-25 minutes of play, however, he bent down, hands on his knees. Yuvraj was visibly tired. The match wrapped up and he looked around, clueless. A year ago, he would shout for passes, keeping the energy levels up. On Friday, he was lost, trying to find his feet in a young team that has slowly but surely ejected his older colleagues while he was recuperating. The equations have changed.
But once at the nets, the first ball from Dinda was hammered through cover and Yuvi rocked back, relaxed. Soon, the floodgates opened. The big shots had everyone in awe. Yuvi was back.