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Local boys look for home turf advantage

india Updated: Mar 30, 2011 00:21 IST
Sanjjeev Karan Samyal
Sanjjeev Karan Samyal
Hindustan Times
Sanjjeev Karan Samyal

As much as the local public will come out on Wednesday to support the Indian team and Sachin Tendulkar against Pakistan, the centre of their love and affection will be Punjab da puttars, Yuvraj Singh and Harbhajan Singh. After all, they are the local heroes.

It has been a fairytale turnaround in Yuvraj's fortunes, coming back from last season's poor form to take this World Cup by storm. With four 'Man-of-the-Match' awards, he is a leading contender for the 'Player-of-the-Tournament' award.

It's painful to see your star players fall from grace. The Chandigarh cricket fraternity went through this torment last season when Yuvraj lost form and was chased by one controversy after another.

But, the smiles are back now. Bhupinder Singh Sr, who coached Yuvraj this season in the Ranji Trophy, said, "Whatever happens, happens for the good. He's faced a lot of criticism last year and it's time to prove his critics wrong."

Following his poor form, Yuvraj was dropped from the Test team and he started his comeback from Ranji Trophy. "I told him, I don't want you here (in my Ranji team). Your place is in the Indian team," said Bhupinder, who was in the national selection committee in 2007.

"He was a changed player in the Ranji Trophy. He was focussed on overcoming his flashy lifestyle. He got half-tons in all the three games he played and spent useful time in the middle," added the Punjab coach.

Harbhajan is not among the wickets but Bhupinder said the offie's lean patch should end at his home ground because the surface will offer him bounce. "The opponents have been playing him cautiously. The wicket here has bounce and he does well on bouncy wickets. He should be among the wickets here."