August 4th, 2016
Yuvraj Singh, playing only in his second playoff match in the Indian Premier League ever, made an impact for the Hyderabad franchise as his 40-odd runs were critical in guiding the men in orange to a fighting score against KKR.
Yuvraj’s play to the bowling of Kuldeep Yadav, one of the opposition’s main spinning weapons who had been getting the ball go in both the directions against the right handed batsmen as well as the southpaws, stood out.
While the other players were trying to be in the crease when the left arm bowler was bowling and were failing to do any run scoring with the ball turning miles, Yuvraj decided to do it differently.
He took spin out of the equation by jumping out and taking Kuldeep on the half volley every time he looped the ball.
More than 20 runs that he took off Kuldeep with three fours and a six despite the Uttar Pradesh youngster getting decent turn, it got Hyderabad to stretch their score that extra bit on a tough batting wicket.
Another moment of glory came for Yuvraj thereafter in the field as with a lightening quick pick up and throw coming from the backward point position; he took everyone 15 years back when he was young and one of the best fielders in the world.
June 7th, 2016
It’s surreal what nervousness can do to even Seasoned players.
Yuvraj Singh batting in the fag-end of the Indian innings in the third T20 game against Australia was a classic example of that.
The Punjab superstar has played so many matches in front of packed stands and most of the time, he has excelled.
But, when he made his way out in the centre at the Sydney Cricket Ground to bat for India for the first time in 2 years and that too in a critical situation, he was all, but, lost.
Yuvraj was not able to buy a run and had almost lost India the game during his struggle at the crease.
And, it was all down to his nervousness. He did not seem to have the belief in himself that he could play the big shots.
His body language was totally negative. It was almost as if he was trying to get away from the striker’s end somehow.
He was lucky to get a couple of lose deliveries in the last over which allowed him to get out of jail as he collected 10 runs off the first 2 balls of that over to bring India back into the game.
Suresh Raina then finished the game in style with a boundary off the last ball and India whitewashed the Kangaroos by 3-0.
But, what seemed okay at the end of the day could so easily have been embarrassing for Yuvraj.
He seemed to have started from the point where he had left in the final of the World Championship in Sri Lanka in 2014.
January 28th, 2016
After impressing the selectors with his returns in the test matches against Sri Lanka, the leg spinner Amit Mishra has been able to make a comeback in the limited-over squads as well.
The 32-year old has been included in the 15-member group that was named yesterday for the T20 series and also, for the first three games of the One Day International series against South Africa.
However, Mishra doesn’t stand that strong a chance of featuring in the playing XI.
Ravichandran Ashwin and Axar Patel are the first choice spinners for India in white ball Cricket at the moment and unless one of those two gets injured or happens to perform very, very poorly in 2 or 3 games, Mishra will have to warm the benches.
Mishra had made his debut in One Day Cricket long ago. But, he has got to win only 27 caps for India so far and it’s a bit surprising because his record on paper looks alright.
He has grabbed 45 wickets in 27 games at an average of 23 and these numbers are not bad. Still, somehow, he has never been able to cement himself in the national set up and has found himself out of the team at regular intervals.
Maybe conceding runs at a very high economic rate at times might be the reason for his regular axe, but, the leg spinners are like that only. They can win games on their day, but, they can be taken to the cleaners as well if they have an off day.
Here, actually, the captain’s role is very important. Leg spinners always need captain’s support.
December 2nd, 2015
The former Indian opener Sunil Gavaskar is not really taken aback by the fact that despite being in fantastic form in domestic Cricket, Yuvraj Singh was not considered by the selectors when they met yesterday to pick the 15-member squad for the remaining matches of the One Day International series against the touring South African team.
According to Gavaskar, by not picking Yuvraj for the World Cup played in Australia-New Zealand at the start of this year, the selectors had made it quite clear that they were not ready to take any backward step and would be backing the youngsters whom they have invested heavily in.
Gavaskar believes it’s hard for Yuvraj to get in now, but, he is of the opinion that if the veteran keeps up the form that he has shown of late, it would be only fair to give him one more chance to have a crack at it as he has been a wonderful servant of Indian Cricket for over a decade.
India actually needs somebody like Yuvraj at the moment.
Not only can the Punjab southpaw help the team score at a healthy rate in the latter stages of the innings, but, he can be handy with the ball as well.
Since the exclusion of Ravindra Jadeja, the Indian batting is looking immensely light in the lower order. The guys like Axar Patel and Stuart Binny have been tried at no. 7, but, they have failed to show that they are good enough to bat there.
October 5th, 2015
Ambati Rayudu will not be able to take part in the remaining matches of the ongoing tour of Zimbabwe because of being injured.
The young wicket keeper batsman from Kerala, Sanju Samson, has been included in the Indian squad on the place of Rayudu.
Rayudu had been India’s most successful player in the first two games. He had got an unbeaten century in the first one, while, a solid 41 in the second.
He injured himself while fielding during Zimbabwe’s innings yesterday.
Samson might have replaced him in the squad, but, it’s more likely that Manish Pandey is going to come into the XI and bat no. 3 in the third One Day International to be played on Tuesday.
If Pandey plays, it will be his first match for India. He has been a heavy run scorer for the Kolkata Knight Riders in the Indian Premier League in the last couple of years.
Having won the series, India might like to make more changes in the XI and gives some of the other reserved guys a go.
The fast bowler Sandeep Sharma is someone whom the fans would want to play as he is an exciting prospect.
He is a swing bowler from Punjab who has also made his name through IPL. He bowls good yorkers too later in the innings, a bit like Bhuvneshwar Kumar.
Bhuvneshwar and Sandeep bowling in tandem would be a sight worth watching.
July 23rd, 2015
The young Indian side, under the captaincy of the Mumbai batsman Ajinkya Rahane, is doing well in Zimbabwe as they have won the first two games of the ongoing One Day International series.
Rahane himself has led from the front in both the games with useful knocks, but, it’s the bowlers who have really set up the wins for India.
Harbhajan Singh, on his comeback, hasn’t been amongst the clusters of wickets, but, his economy has been fantastic and he has always maintained pressure from his end.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who seemed to have lost his swing post the England tour, has also moved the ball under what you would call helping conditions.
So, that’s been quite heartening for India.
Apart from that, the way Murali Vijay, Ambati Rayudu and Stuart Binny have batted, that would also have pleased the selectors.
Binny in particular because there have always been question marks over his batting ability, if he is good enough to bat in top 6 or not.
Vijay is already a settled test match batsman for India. So, this Zimbabwe tour was never going to be that much of a challenge for him and not for Rayudu either as he has also been more or less a regular in the international arena.
May 31st, 2015