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Yuvraj Singh: An asset turned liability

Tuesday, 25 March 2014 - 7:25am IST | Place: DHAKA | Agency: DNA
Yuvraj Singh's poor form with bat and in the outfield has been worrying Dhoni, who is hoping that all-rounder comes out of it at the earliest

Duniya Badlegi Bas Ek Over Main (World will change in one over). That's how the official broadcaster is promoting the ICC World Twenty20 with clips of Yuvraj Singh's six sixes from the inaugural edition in 2007 featuring prominently.

That was Yuvraj seven years back when he could hit sixes and boundaries at will. There was a sense of fear in the opposition's mind whenever he'd step on to the field. Even the toughest and unbelievable situations would look easy when he was around for his sheer ability to hit long and hard with a touch of grace and class.

Today's Yuvraj Singh is a different player altogether, one struggling with confidence and lacking self belief. His two-ball one against Pakistan last Friday and a 19-ball 10 against West Indies on Sunday were not how we know Yuvraj to bat. Form in cricket is temporary as one cannot have a purple patch throughout his career. But the way things are going for this Punjab batsman is something Dhoni and Co. have to worry about.

Once known to be one of the finest fielders in the world, Yuvraj has now become a liability for the Indian skipper on the field. He spilled two high catches in back-to-back games against Pakistan and the West Indies. They could have been the turning points for the opposition. However, credit to the bowlers, they still won the matches for India. High catching is a problem at Sher-e-Bangla Stadium due to floodlights situated at low height. But the 32-year-old has taken some unthinkable blinders that have gone down as some of the finest catches in history.

As much as his fielding, Yuvraj's struggle with the bat is a concern, especially when he is on a comeback trail. The southpaw returned to the side after being dropped following some poor performances in the ODI series against Australia, West Indies and South Africa. He managed only one half century – 55 vs West Indies in Kanpur – when made a comeback to the Indian team in October after going through some tough fitness routines along with pacer Zaheer Khan in France.

Looking fitter, leaner and hungrier, Yuvraj cracked an unbeaten 77 against Australia in a T20 game in Rajkot that showed he has returned to the team for good.

But the next few months only saw his decline as runs drained so much so that he was dropped by the selectors.

Bought for Rs14 crore by Royal Challengers Bangalore followed by an authoritative 96* in Vijay Hazare Trophy saw him back amongst runs that gave the selectors and Dhoni reason enough to see that nothing's wrong with the 32-year-old.

However, Yuvraj disappointed again. The worst came against West Indies. Apart from that superb pull off Andre Russel, Yuvraj was found wanting.

It came to worse when India just one run of the last over, the south-paw was unable to get that single against Sunil Narine in the end giving a simple catch to Chris Gayle at the first slip while going for a late cut, leaving Suresh Raina to finish the job.

Non-striker Rohit Sharma's disappointing expression after Yuvraj's dismissal revealed how this batsman, once compared with the great West Indian Garfield Sobers, is now finding it to get those runs.

Skipper Dhoni, too, is worried about Yuvraj's form. "Yuvraj is one of the best players of T20 but yes you can say that he is not in good touch at the moment. It becomes tough when you are dropped from ODIs and then you make a comeback in the T20s. So there's bit of pressure on him," Dhoni said. "When an individual comes into the squad, there is bound to be pressure on him. It takes one or two matches, probably he will get back into flow as we know how good a match-winner he is. He can turn the game on his own."

Everyone's hoping that Yuvraj gets back to his six-hitting acts at the earliest.




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