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Back from the cold

cricket Updated: Nov 14, 2008 23:22 IST
Nilankur Das
Nilankur Das
Hindustan Times
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Who would believe this man has been struggling for form for some time now? Who would believe this gifted stroke-maker had accumulated a mere 72 runs in five one-dayers in Sri Lanka earlier this year and had been battling to get runs even during a domestic tournament, the Challengers? Combine this with the loss of a very hard-earned Test berth following a dry run in Australia and Yuvraj Singh was a man going down. But just as the questions of whether he deserved a place in the one-day squad raised their heads, a big bang came by way of an answer.

Coming in at No. 4, Yuvraj Singh almost shattered Mohammad Azharuddin's long-standing record for the fastest hundred by an Indian in the course of his unbeaten 138. He was on 95 off 60 balls and the way he was hitting sixes, Azhar's record was under threat.

"Yes, when I was in my 90s I had asked Dhoni but we were not sure, we thought Azharuddin's record was off 65 balls. But then it's not about records. We needed to stay together and take the score past 350 which we had in mind," Yuvraj said.

Muted celebrations when he reached his 50 off 42 balls was a premonition of something big around the corner. "I was obviously relieved to get to 50 but I knew we would take the third Powerplay any moment then and I was concentrating on that."

That his next 50 would take only 22 balls was something few might have guessed. "He was just amazing. He hit some very good balls out of the park," England skipper Kevin Pietersen said.

"It's not about proving to anyone. It was about proving to myself that I was good enough at this level," Yuvraj said.

"I was timing the ball well and when I came to the wicket Viru told me that the wicket was playing very well. So I took my time to settle down and Raina too hit some big ones and kept the run rate over six," said Yuvraj. "That took the pressure off me and I wasn't nervous anymore."