Jab tak balla chal raha hai, thaat hai" - Though the ad served the purpose for the insurance company, while Yuvraj Singh underwent treatment for cancer, these lines mouthed by the champion batsman touched the hearts of ardent cricket fans and left them emotional. They eagerly wanted him back on the cricket field after conquering cancer. Their prayers were answered.
When Yuvraj Singh entered the field to play the second T20 international against the Kiwis at Chennai, the reception he received said it all. The entire crowd at the Chepauk stadium rose on its feet to applaud the man who had recently conquered a disease that sends shivers down your spine and was back at doing something he was best at. We have seen Sachin Tendulkar experience many such standing ovations at various grounds across the world for his batting feats but Yuvraj’s one was very emotional for reasons which was entirely different. Few months back, we all were praying for his successful re
covery and hoping that he is able to combat the deadly disease but little did we know that we would see him donning the blue jersey in a matter of 10 months.
A lot was said and written about his comeback and many thought it was too early for him to do so. Everybody was concerned about his fitness. The Indian team desperately wanted someone like him to join the squad, but not at the cost of his health. Former Indian skipper Sourav Ganguly was of the opinion that Yuvi shouldn’t hurry his comeback.
During his initial days, the son of Punjab was criticised for his inability to hit sixes. Yuvraj was often scalped by an off-spinner which was a major weakness in his batting. Over the years, he overcame all his flaws, and Stuart Broad would definitely know how good the Indian left-hander is at hitting sixes.
When Yuvraj came to bat in the second T20 against New Zealand, people were still worried whether he could still spend time at the crease, let alone hit sixes. It was in Vettori’s 3rd over Yuvraj clobbered one of his trademark sixes as if telling his critics “I am back! And there’s a six if you don’t believe it.”
India were in a good position till he was there at the crease. Dhoni, who has had so many match-winning partnerships with him was on his way to script another victory. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen as Yuvraj was clean bowled for 34. But during his short stay, he convinced his fans and critics that he still is a threat for the bowlers. India might have lost the match by one run, but Yuvraj won a million hearts and it was a satisfactory innings which reflected that India would enter the T20 World Cup high on confidence.
He bowled two overs, played a formidable innings and was pretty active on the field. His reflexes might not be the same as they were five years ago, but still, Yuvraj Singh remains to be one of India’s top fielders. His ability to deliver 100 percent under all circumstances is something which has helped him win various matches.
His two innings in the 2007 T20 World Cup, 58 against England and 70 against Australia changed the way in which the opponents were looking at India. He was also the man-of-the-series in 2011 World Cup where he scored 362 runs and scalped 15 wickets.
In the recent times, the Indian team has succumbed under pressure as they did not have a reliable batsman down the order to take them home. In spite of Kohli’s incredible run in the ODIs, India didn’t win many matches and lost from a winning position.
The current Indian squad looks in good shape at the moment and Yuvraj’s comeback has only added further teeth to it. The T20 World Cup should be a cakewalk for Yuvraj Singh. After all it isn’t as hard as conquering cancer with a brave heart.
(The views expressed by the author are personal)