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A match-winner first, friend second


Yuvraj_Singh_India_Cricket_YuviYuvraj Singh is back in the Indian limited overs sides.

“Wait, are you serious?” Yes, there were remarks like this after chief selector MSK Prasad revealed the name of Yuvraj Singh on 6th January, 2017. On hearing this, many scribes reported that this was a backward step for Indian team and many confidently disclosed on social media that this was an emotional decision. Just as if they want to be able to say ‘I was alive when Yuvraj Singh was picked in the Indian ODI team at the age of 35.’

But they ignore that Yuvraj Singh the fighter once put his life in peril to win a World Cup. Yuvraj Singh has won the hearts of many viewers over the years and the time has come for this nation’s hero to once again substantiate his credentials as a player in India’s limited overs sides.

Only time will tell whether Yuvraj Singh will justify his selection, but he has given another chance for his die-hard fans to make the stadium reverberate with their chant of ‘Yuvi, Yuvi’.

Just like a mother waiting everyday for their child to come home from school safely, Yuvraj Singh’s fans were waiting for his comeback in India’s ODI team. That moment has finally come under Virat Kohli’s leadership.

Many claim that Yuvraj Singh is back in the Indian team due to Virat Kohli only because they had not seen Yuvraj playing under the leadership of MS Dhoni in the World T20 2016. This upcoming series may be do or die for Yuvraj, but for many of his fans it is not a campaign but an opportunity to put a smile on their faces once again, which he has always succeeded at whenever he has tried.

Many years have passed since we have seen Yuvraj Singh’s signature flick-shot in the ODI format. Now we will maybe see him in battle against England, and Yuvi loves England team more than his partner. His numbers against England in ODIs say it all: 3 centuries and 7 fifties at an average of 48.62 and a strike rate of 100.

Yuvraj Singh and his fans do not know whether or not he will be picked in India’s first XI, but his fans have the tenacious belief that this time around Yuvi will not put a foot wrong. If he does, then he has to accept that he will not be given another chance to play the way he is renowned for in international cricket. That “if and but” has always been there, but this time around it will decide Yuvraj Singh’s career.


“Why have Virat Kohli and the Indian selectors picked Yuvraj Singh in India’s ODI team? He has not played a competitive game in nearly two months before appearing in the DY Patil T20 Cup,” some people grumble. But these people forget that to re-select a player, selectors sometimes need to look at a player’s aptitude to win matches rather than how many matches he has played recently. What’s more, Yuvraj has runs under his belt in the ongoing season of Ranji Trophy. By looking at both, skipper Virat Kohli may have given a new lease to Yuvraj.

Yuvraj Singh has played under the leadership of Virat Kohli in the Indian Premier League for Royal Challengers Bangalore. The love and camaraderie between them on the ground are not hidden from anyone. But when making a case for his place in the Indian team, friendship cannot aid a player all the time. If it does aid players, then MS Dhoni’s best friend RP Singh might have played matches for India more frequently. Friendship and animosity should be forgotten whenever a captain selects his men. That is real professionalism.

The fact is that Virat Kohli, keeping in mind ICC Champions Trophy this year, may want a player in the middle-order who is experienced and can turn the game on its head whenever needed. If MS Dhoni comes at No.4 in the series against England, then Virat Kohli has to fill the next two positions with either Suresh Raina or Yuvraj Singh at one position while knowing that either Kedar Jadhav or Manish Pandey will play at the other.

Apart from Yuvraj Singh and Suresh Raina, India do not have better options they can try out at this point in time. Both are similar type of players and well experienced. Both have good relations with Virat Kohli, but maybe Yuvraj Singh’s runs in the Ranji Trophy helped him to earn the recognition. That is exactly what MSK Prasad said in the press conference.

Everyone knows there is no bigger match-winner than Yuvraj Singh if he gets his rhythm back. That’s why his selection is not due to Virat Kohli, but the need of the hour. It is due to his ability to single-handedly win matches for India.

Just as Suresh Raina was for MS Dhoni, Yuvraj Singh can be for Virat Kohli. But the upcoming six matches against England are the real test. As of now, Yuvraj Singh is not only “yuvraj” aka “prince” for Virat Kohli, but for all of India.

Yuvraj, if Virat Kohli can put his faith in you, then the people of this country can too. Just do it, champion!


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Member of the Society of Cricket Statisticians of India. Freelance writer & statistician. Proud Mec...

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