When Yuvraj Singh walked out, it was hard to miss out the noisy crowd. And as he got his sinewy arms together to clobber the ball in some pre-match knocking, many screamed his name out in celebration.
It was their best Diwali gift, no doubt. Much like Virender Sehwag who played here on Monday, Yuvraj attracted a lot of people who came up a tricky, kuccha road 10-12 km from nearby Rohtak to watch their star in action.
Yuvi's every shot was cheered for and the one six he hit brought on an almost deafening roar.
It took about an hour after the match to get him into a chat, so tied up was he with his fans and admirers.
"I am feeling fit and absolutely fine," said Yuvi, clad in three-quarters and Punjab team jersey. "I played a fairly long innings today, bowled a couple of overs and nothing nagged me," he added.
Yuvi fielded in the slip for the first 10 overs but then moved around, orchestrating moves.
The message was clear. He is awaiting the next series. "Yes, I am definitely targeting the West Indies Test series. Tomorrow is Diwali. The day after, I leave for the National Cricket Academy in Bangalore to get a fitness test done. I'll play only if the test clears me," he said almost echoing what Virender Sehwag had told us on Friday.
"This is the first time I am playing in about two months."
While Monday wasn't that profitable - he made 2 off 8 balls, Tuesday got him some time on the pitch. He faced 30 balls and made 27 runs. Earlier, at the DPS ground in Rohtak, Sehwag too had played a fairly long innings (35 off 39 balls) to lead his side to a victory. Both stars got the feel of the wicket.
Ideally, Yuvi would have liked to play a lot more before getting back to international cricket. He agreed. "Of course, days game would have been ideal. But you have make do with whatever you get. We have just the T20 games and I have to use them as best as I can."
The first Ranji match begins on November 3 and ends on 6th, the day the first Test begins. "Test is important. Since I feel okay, I'd rather play the Test than think of getting further practice in Ranji."