Yuvraj Singh’s troubles facing spin bowling continued against West Indies on Sunday. Though Yuvraj’s 49-ball stint at the crease fetched him 28, the southpaw was at sea against the duo of Sunil Narine and Veerasammy Permaul. Yuvraj was let off the hook by poor cricket from West Indies bowlers, who strayed in length regularly, giving the struggling batsman boundary balls.
Yuvraj had a premeditated plan, looking to sweep the spinners almost every time. Against Permaul in the 18th over, he survived a close lbw shout and a caught-behind attempt while trying to sweep almost every ball of the over. Even when he put a lazy foot forward to defend, the ball sneaked through his defence. Yuvraj broke the shackles in the next over when Narine dropped one short. But he continued to get caught out against straight balls that hardly turned. He couldn’t pick the carom ball either. Then, in over No 25, Narine offered Yuvraj a long hop that deservedly sailed over the deep midwicket fence. At that stage, Yuvraj was batting on 16 from 42 balls. Navjot Singh Sidhu felt: “He’s always been a slow starter. Needs to get his eye in before playing the big shots. Sure, spin is not his biggest strength.”
Suddenly, West Indies introduced pace from both ends, and Yuvraj must have breathed a sigh of relief. With Darren Sammy into the attack, Yuvraj paid the price for shoddy footwork, caught at midwicket by Marlon Samuels while trying to pull a short ball with his feet firmly planted to the crease.
Even in Kochi, Yuvraj struggled to read Narine. After attempting to cut one that spun in a touch, he failed to block one that zipped across. Then, he played and missed at one that turned away. That was followed by another tentative poke before an inside edge saved him from plumb lbw. Again, he leaned forward but failed to make contact with another one that turned away. In 2013, Yuvraj averages 18.41 with 221 runs from 15 ODIs. He’s not bowling as much as he did in the past; he has only two wickets this year. Against Australia, he managed only 19 runs from 6 matches.