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In through the out door

Yuvraj Singh’s ability to wield the willow has not been in doubt for some time around. But just when he seems to be shaping up, this one-day wonder is found lacking in the longest form of the game , reports Subhash Rajta.

cricket Updated: Nov 18, 2008 22:49 IST
Subhash Rajta

When he hits the high notes he is peerless among the generation of batsmen who hope to follow in the footsteps of those who have come to be known as the Fab Four of Indian cricket.

Yuvraj Singh’s ability to wield the willow has not been in doubt for some time around. But just when he seems to be shaping up, this one-day wonder is found lacking in the longest form of the game.

Perhaps he needs an occasional prod from the selectors, at least it seems that way. It was perhaps the loss of vice-captaincy that jolted him out of his comfort zone, and caused him to violently shake off the run of poor form that had dogged him in the lead-up to this ODI series.

“He is a special player and has the ability to put the team in a winning situation every time he gets going. His last two knocks have been simply superb, the second being even better given the conditions and circumstances it came in,” said the chief selector Krishnamachari Srikkanth.

The elated chief selector, however, refused to comment on whether it was their decision to strip the left hander of vice-captaincy that spurred him to come up with an inspired performance.

But there are many who believe that occasional shock therapy can do more good to an individual than unconditional support and encouragement.

“I think a player will always feel hurt whenever he goes through such situation. But on the positive side, it also inspires him to reflect on his game and take it up as a challenge to prove a point,” said former international cricketer and selector Bhupinder Singh (Sr).

“So I do agree with the point that the loss of vice-captaincy proved a blessing in disguise for Yuvraj Singh,” he said.

Moreover, Yuvraj Singh isn’t the kind who digests ‘rejection’ without squirming in pain and responding to the best of his abilities.

He gave a glimpse of his resilient character in the Indian Oil Cup in 2005 in Sri Lanka. Then he was benched by coach Greg Chappell for a game, and the left-hander responded with a scintillating century in the next game, and pointed his bat towards the pavilion in anger as much as in jubilation.

It’s perhaps the same resilience that helped him shake-off his poor run this time around as well.

Yuvraj, like anyone else, will obviously maintain that it’s playing for the country that matters the most, not the position and the capacity he is playing in.

That’s undoubtedly right, but then, at the same time, no player likes to see a position of eminence taken away from him, especially when he has been so vocal about his desire to lead the country.

The Punjab left-hander can’t be blamed for harbouring desires to lead the country, for anyone who has been appointed vice-captain would be right in thinking that one day the big job could be his.

So, it’s easy to imagine his pain in being removed as vice-captain, and, in that light, his spectacular showings at Rajkot and Indore.

He was injured at Rajkot, but that did not limit his abilities. Perhaps, the ‘hurt’ he was carrying inside was far greater, allowing him to momentarily forget the physical pain and spur him on.

But then, it’s not for the first time Yuvraj Singh has been so spectacular.

He has done it before, only to slip back into back into ordinariness. Hopefully, he will not go down that road this time.