Yuvraj sacking: A blessing in disguise?

It was well past lunch time on a busy Monday afternoon, but food was not what was on most people’s mind involved in an animated discussion in the meeting room. <br/><br/>The Board of Control for Cricket in India’s selection committee was pondering over the 15-member team for the upcoming Asia Cup tournament in Sri Lanka. It was probably the trickiest situation that the selectors had faced in recent times as Indian cricket had been going through one of its worst phases lately. While the seniors had been wiped away in the Twenty20 World Cup, the youngsters, who had been given the mantle after the rout, had performed equally disastrously. <br/><br/>In midst of the discussion over possible names, the debate suddenly took a more vigorous turn. <br/><br/>Views like ‘we have given him enough opportunities to get his act together, the guy has to be taught a lesson’ and ‘he is a vital cog of the entire outfit’ reverberated inside the huge hall.<br/><br/>It was the dashing Punjabi lad Yuvraj Singh’s name that had come up for selection. While a few months ago, there would probably have been no debate at all on his name, it was clear that the growing fitness and form concerns had contributed to the mounting dissent against him.<br/><br/>‘Yuvraj Singh Axed from Indian Squad for Asia Cup’ was the news that flashed across channels a little while later.<br/><br/>Yuvraj’s entry into international cricket was scintillating, to say the least, as he blew away the mighty Aussies almost single-handedly at the ICC Knockout Championship played in Kenya in the year 2000. Not only did he smash a sparkling 84 runs, but also took a catch and affected a crucial run-out. <br/><br/>A few matches later, and the sizzling southpaw also proved his mettle with the ball, claiming a few vital breakthroughs at crucial junctures with his average left arm spin. However, a run of bad form and he was briefly dropped from the team before making a strong comeback and leading the Indian charge in the historic run chase at the NatWest tri-series final against England. <br/><br/>After a patient wait of close to three years, Yuvi finally got a chance to prove his worth in the longer version of the game. A stupendous century against Pakistan at Lahore early on in his Test career and it seemed like he would be equally effective in the five-day format.<br/><br/>While the progress was uphill in ODIs, it was not quite the same when it came to Tests and Yuvi, in spite of being preferred over the very very special Laxman, could not live up to his tremendous potential. <br/><br/>The inaugural Twenty20 World Cup gave all the Yuvraj fans a moment to remember as the flamboyant southpaw hit England’s Stewart Broad for six sixes in an over. The good run of form continued until the Champions Trophy last year after which he had to pull out of a few series because of an injury. <br/><br/>Since his comeback, Yuvraj has looked a bit plump and out of form. The reasons given for his exclusion from the Asia Cup squad include issues ranging from fitness to discipline.<br/><br/>There is no denying the fact that Yuvraj as a batsman is still miles above most in the team and that he is a vital cog of the team when we talk of the next year’s 50-over World Cup. <br/><br/>The best explanation of dropping him from the team would be that the selectors wanted him to get his act together before the all important behemoth of the cricketing world and keeping him in the team wasn’t going to serve the purpose.<br/><br/>This is not the first time that players who have been ‘inseparable’ parts of the team have been dropped and more often than not such an incident has done a lot more good than bad. Remember the case of Ganguly, anyone! Let us hope that the same happens in the case of Yuvraj and he makes a comeback to enchant us all yet again like he has done plenty of times in the past.