Banished by empire; Yuvraj must battle for survival

Last Updated: Jun 14, 2010, 00:00 AM IST

Sudeshna Guha Roy

A devastating middle order batsman, a superb fielder with magnetic fingers and a dashing all-rounder!

Party animal, playboy of the Indian cricket team, arrogant spoilt brat, who hates to follow rules and regulations!

Both the set of adjectives are for the same person – Yuvraj Singh! The only difference is that the first set denotes Yuvraj Singh two years back; and the second set represents ‘Yuvi’ of today!

Once an indispensable member of the Indian cricket team, Yuvraj Singh, was left out in the cold as the national selection committee announced the squad for Asia Cup to be played in Sri Lanka in about a week’s time from now.

Yuvraj’s exclusion from the Asia Cup squad is not shocking for us, as of late the player was seen more as a ‘Page 3 Personality’ rather than a cricketer. It was the stardom around cricket, and not the game itself which seemed more and more of interest to this lad from Chandigarh. And so, the selectors thought it to be the right time to give ‘the’ deadly blow.

Yuvraj’s diminishing form had been worrying the selectors a lot, especially ahead of the World Cup as it is important to have a strong, in-form guy like him to take care of the middle order along with skipper Dhoni.

But whether exclusion from the Indian squad is or not the right treatment for Yuvraj is a very dicey question.

Yuvraj’s journey in international cricket has been a very tumultuous one; from ‘six sixes’ to being axed from the Asia Cup, Yuvi’s decade long career has been filled with sky-high successes and abysmal failures.

However, his performance in the recent past has been more worrying than ever. The last ODI that Yuvraj played was on January 13, 2010 against Sri Lanka in Dhaka; a match where he scored no runs, grabbed just a wicket after bowling 9 overs and dispensing 41 runs.

His highest score in the last 12 months had been in June 2009 in the 4-match ODI series against West Indies, where he scored 131 runs in the first encounter. His form was limited only to the first match as in the next two, he scored 35 and 2 runs respectively.

In September 2009, in the Compaq Cup, the all-rounder put up only an average performance; in the three matches that India played, Yuvraj scored 80 runs and picked 4 wickets with an average economy of 3.94.

After that in the tri-series against Sri Lanka in Bangladesh early this year, Yuvraj’s highest score in the entire tournament was 74. In the rest of the matches, he failed to perform as his highest went up to only 13. In the bowling department, Yuvi is yet to show consistency, with him picking just a wicket or two with a decent economy on the card.

What further brought his form into the limelight was the third season of the extravagant Indian Premier League; first, the tussle with team owners (Kings XI Punjab) over captaincy, and then, allegations on him being a compulsive under-performer and finally, the team’s overall poor show in the tournament. All in all, the glory of his ‘six sixes’ in the T20 format faded like cheap dye in parching heat.

His lack of fitness has taken a toll on him, he is now overweight.

Despite his sluggish form, no one ever saw Yuvraj working towards it. Instead, reports of him leaving hotel premises without informing security officials, attending ‘IPL Nights’ with full fervour, having ‘fun’ with beautiful women in late night parties started doing the rounds. His life was not only or even about cricket, but something different!

Probably, cricket is the very thing that he is taking for granted.

His exit from Asia cup may now either prove to be a bane, or a boon in disguise; bane for this ‘crazy’ lifestyle may continue for him, or, boon in disguise for he may stage a dramatic comeback and prove his worth so well, that he might once again become an indispensable part of the Indian cricket team!

After all, it is the 2011 World Cup we are aiming for - we surely need the best Indian team to fight for it. And there is one thing that we all believe in for sure; the team isn’t complete without Yuvraj Singh.

Hope Yuvraj Singh bounces back from the abyss and gives us what he is best known for!

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