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India vs South Africa: Virat Kohli wants Yuvraj Singh to get a big one

Yuvraj Singh will be a key man in India’s ICC Champions Trophy game against South Africa. Skipper Virat Kohli is aware of this and is counting on the southpaw to put in another memorable big-match performance in their must-win game.

cricket Updated: Jun 11, 2017 09:43 IST
Soumitra Bose
Soumitra Bose
Hindustan Times, London
India vs South Africa,India national cricket team,Virat Kohli
Indian skipper Virat Kohli is counting on perennial big-game player Yuvraj Singh to step up to the plate against South Africa. (AFP)

Cometh the hour, cometh the man. Virat Kohli is backing Yuvraj Singh to strike it big as India face South Africa in a must-win ICC Champions Trophy match at the Oval on Sunday.

Yuvraj Singh, whose never-say-die spirit is now part of Indian cricket’s folklore, will be playing his 299th ODI and skipper Kohli wants a “special” innings from the veteran left-hander, who has been in sketchy form in this tournament.

Yuvraj will have a key role to play for India on Sunday. Most teams in this Champions Trophy have made cautious starts and accelerated in the middle overs. Kohli sees a big role for Yuvraj against a South African attack that is well balanced in terms of pace and spin.

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Against Pakistan, Yuvraj Singh batted at No 5 and his 32-ball 53 with eight fours and a six took India past the 300-mark. He came in at No 4 against Sri Lanka, managing just seven runs.

Kohli feels Yuvraj’s big-match temperament is what India will need on Sunday.

“There is no doubt about his ability. He has achieved tremendous things for India and he might like to use this occasion as extra motivation,” said Kohli on Saturday.

Yuvraj is focused too. Among the first to take the field during nets at the Oval, Yuvraj, pushing 36, worked hard on his fitness before bowling his left-arm spin and then had a long batting session.

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Overcoming odds:

Kohli sees Yuvraj as an example of how to conquer the odds in life. “He is superbly skilled and a superb athlete. Personally in life, he has fought bigger battles,” Kohli said, indicating that the 2011 World Cup Man of the tournament knows the occasion to lift his game.

Yuvraj is expected to add muscle to India’s middle-order. Kohli said India will love to keep their wickets intact in the first 10 overs and then shift gears in the middle overs.

“The last 10 overs is what we are looking at. We have scored some good runs in that stage and that remains our game plan.” the skipper said.

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Kohli agreed no total was safe. India lost to Sri Lanka by seven wickets after scoring 321 runs. The best approach will be to defend a score.

Yuvraj’s left-arm spin might just come in handy against South Africa on Sunday.

First Published: Jun 10, 2017 22:52 IST