Yuvraj Singh marked his comeback to the Indian batting line-up against a New Zealand side that they had comprehensively beaten in the Test series leading up to the T20 matches. Bangalore was initially haunted by a torrential outburst of fading monsoon showers, but ‘The Prince’ still managed to grab the spot light.
The India-New Zealand test series was going to be the final swansong of another of India’s golden elites. But VVS Laxman decided to go vigilante and announced his retirement a weekend before the series commenced. Indian cricket was up in confusion and it, ironically, required another eventful incident to transpire which would effectively divert attention from the Laxman-saga. India performed well against a Kiwi side that failed to understand spin and the selectors got their star from last year’s World Cup back in coloured jersey. Yuvraj was included in the 13-man squad for the two matches and the social media went abuzz, not unlike last November when the news about his illness was released.
After being released from chemotherapy sessions in Indianapolis, USA, his father described Yuvraj’s immense desire to continue adorning the Indian shirt. He assured that his son would come back stronger and better. This statement proved to be true when the Punjabi lad made a swashbuckling 34 off just 26 balls. That innings featured a mighty six off Vettori that sailed 90 meters into the stands; all questions about his game were silenced. India lost the match but the admission of Singh to a strangely weakening batting order, was a blissful win.
The Indian Cricket Team opened their campaign in the on-going Twenty20 World Cup in Sri Lanka against fellow competitors from the subcontinent. Afghanistan was an inspired team and managed to trouble the Indians in parts and bits. Yuvraj, alongside Virat Kohli, starred with the ball picking up 3 wickets for a meagre 24 runs in a dry win for India. Captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni said in a press interview later that Singh’s slow left armers were missed sorely. His deliveries generally grip and turn handsomely on flat subcontinent pitches which were critical in vital games.
As much has Yuvraj’s comeback has been a favourable publicity and marketing stunt for quite a few corporates, it also was showed that the southpaw was a vital cog for Team India. Recent retirees Dravid and Laxman expressed immense pleasure on his return, as well as genuine concern for the team at the moment. Kohli stands an entire staircase higher than his fellow companions in the dressing room, with the Dhonis and Sehwags seldom performing on their hay days. A line-up that includes Sachin Tendulkar was beginning to look all the less reassuring. Singh’s return adds that essential spice to India’s bland cricketing curry, that raw aggression back where it rightfully belongs.
Although it is too early to predict whether or not he would match up to his feats previous to the cancer, all we can do is wait, hope and keep believing for another Andrew Flintoff to spurn him up. They say what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Yuvraj Singh is testimony to the statement.