At the IPL 8 auction, Royal Challengers Bangalore, who released their marquee player Yuvraj Singh for fresh bidding, were in a panic mode, as Delhi Daredevils seemed determined to buy the all-rounder at any cost. Vijay Mallya and his camp, who had sealed the all-rounder in a controversial bid last year, released the southpaw thinking he wasn't worth 14 crores. The strategy would have been to buy him back at a lower price, considering he wasn't selected for the ICC World Cup and not many franchises would bid for him. But since Delhi had the heaviest purse at the auction, they wanted a match-winner who could change their fortunes in the cash-rich tournament.
Mr. Mallya and his camp would have had no idea that the player they had released for 14 crores would once again hog the limelight and break all records at the auction. He might have witnessed a slump in form of late, but even today, Yuvi is a player who can turn the course of a game single-handedly in limited-overs cricket.
However, the selectors of the Indian cricket team thought otherwise when they met to select India's best possible squad ahead of the ICC World Cup.
One might argue that Yuvraj Singh wasn’t included in India’s 30-man World Cup squad, as a result of which it would have been unfair to include him in the 15-member list for the prestigious event. But when the country’s reputation is at stake, anything that is required to salvage the pride should be implemented.
When selectors announced the 15-member squad, Yuvraj was one of the seniors among those ignored by the selectors. While Gautam Gambhir, Virender Sehwag, Harbhajan Singh and Zaheer Khan were all match-winners at their peak, what differentiates Yuvi from them is his all-round skill, which played a significant role in India's World Cup triumph in 2011.
Yuvraj, Man of the Series in the previous edition, slammed three consecutive centuries in domestic cricket soon after he was dropped from the 30-member squad. It was a reminder to everybody who doubted his resilience on the cricket field.
While the current Indian ODI squad boasts of some fine batsmen, it certainly lacks experience in the middle-order. While the top-order has big names, MS Dhoni is the only experienced player in the middle-order. But his recent form hasn't been great and nobody else has managed to stitch crucial partnerships in the middle-order in the recently concluded tri-series.
Unlike other teams, the current Indian squad lacks a genuine all-rounder. While Stuart Binny is an option, the team management doesn't seem to be keen on including him in the playing eleven, despite playing a key role in the warm-up matches. India also have Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin, but one can't rely on their batting skills. Had there been Yuvraj, India could have further strengthened their squad with an extra batsman or a bowler.
Moreover, there is a change in body language of the Indian team whenever Yuvraj is there at the ground. He is a match-winner who can change the complexion of the game with an outstanding catch, a run-out from an impossible angle or a flurry of sixes.
As Indian cricket fans, we all want to see Men in Blue do well in the World Cup. But every time when the bowlers will leak runs, every time when Team India will lose wickets in quick succession, every time an Indian fielder will drop a catch at point, MS Dhoni, along with a cricket frenzy nation, will miss Yuvraj Singh's unmatchable exuberance on the cricket field.