“I have never experienced such a treatment. This is something special,” said Yuvraj Singh, when the media gave him a standing ovation in the post-match press conference after his match-winning 57 off 44 balls in the ICC World Cup 2011 quarterfinal against Australia.
For Yuvraj, March 24, 2011 was a special day. That day at Motera, Australia suffered a rare World Cup defeat in a knockout match.
Come December 28, Yuvraj Singh will be back at Motera — this time against Pakistan in a T20i. Doesn’t end here. Remember, he scored a stylish 74 in the first Test against the Englishmen in Ahmedabad. Just that Cheteshwar Pujara deservingly walked away with the plaudits for his double ton.
While Yuvraj’s ordeals in Tests don’t seem to end, he is undergoing a metamorphosis in limited-overs. The last World Cup elevated him to the next level. Now that Sachin Tendulkar has retired from ODIs, he is India’s most senior batsman in limited-overs.
He has represented India in 274 ODIs. His closest rival (only in terms of numbers) is Virender Sehwag who has featured in 249 ODIs. Captain MS Dhoni has played 211 one-dayers. So, will he take up mantle of an unofficial leader?
Down 0-1 in the two-match T20 series, India must win in Ahmedabad to square the rubber. There are eight ODIs — three against Pakistan and five versus England — lined up next.
As evident in Bangalore, India’s young batting brigade could do with a guiding hand. You somehow sense that Yuvraj is that man for the season.