Dhoni defends Yuvraj, says he can win big tournaments

Despite averaging 18.41 from 15 ODIs in 2013, Yuvraj Singh has been retained in the squad for the three-match series in South Africa.

In recent times, his struggles against spin bowling have made him an easy target. Yuvraj has been bowled and leg before twice each against spinners in 2013.

Captain MS Dhoni feels Yuvraj is a big tournament player. “In the last few games, he has struggled a bit. But Yuvraj can get going if he gets a few starts. He’s the sort of player who can win you a tournament with a series of good knocks. But he needs to get that rhythm going. We want Yuvi to do well. He needs to do well at the crucial No 4 position.”

Yuvraj, once a regular fifth bowler, hasn’t bowled in his last four games. In 2013, Yuvraj has bowled just 21 overs for two wickets.

At the 2011 World Cup, Yuvraj took 15 wickets from nine matches, finishing as the sixth highest wicket-taker in the tournament. “If we need him, he will bowl. Right now, Suresh Raina is bowling more because the West Indies have more left-handers,” said Dhoni.

Both Yuvraj and Raina have hit personal lows in recent times. Raina averaged 25 in the six ODIs against Australia and scored 17 runs from five matches at 8.50 during the Champions Trophy in England.

Dhoni hinted that the No 4 spot in the batting order was up for grabs. “Right now, it could be Raina or Yuvraj, but anybody else could be slotted in there on a day. It’s all situational.”

Both are pressure going into the series-decider against the West Indies here on Wednesday.


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