Even as India and the rest of the world start to gear up for the IPL, news trickled in on Wednesday about former India cricketer Yuvraj Singh wanting to return to play for Punjab in the T20 format, for the time being.
Although Yuvraj used to be a big star in his prime, it is quite unlikely that his swing has the ability to sway the IPL betting odds into Punjabi favor at this stage in his career.
There is an image in the minds of those who have watched Yuvraj bat at his best. Of him playing flowing cover drives off the quicks and sweeping spinners with ease. Elements, which remain fresh, even after his retirement.
Not to forget, the ability to swivel quickly to the back foot and pull the ball almost effortlessly- a quality rare among Indian southpaws.
While it could be that Yuvraj may still be able to play fluently off the front-foot, the shots off the back foot could be doubtful. There is a possibility Yuvraj’s reflexes may not be so swift, and he may pick up the ball late and perhaps put himself in line to get injured.
As much as fans of Yuvraj would have loved to hear his willingness to play for Punjab, they would feel equally disappointed to see their hero struggle his way to decent scores with the bat.
The approach to Yuvraj returning to competitive cricket again was made by one of the key representatives at the Punjab Cricket Association, who felt the star himself was in good shape physically and was batting as well as ever, it was a win-win for all.
The reasoning requires a bit of breakdown to understand the logic of it.
‘since there were a lot of youngsters in the Punjab side, since they were already responding positively to Yuvraj’s guidance and suggestions’
It looks quite clear from this part of the statement that Yuvraj will have an important role to play in the starting XI for Punjab, as and when the matches start. Just imagine putting the responsibility on a 38-year-old veteran to shepherd a young side through the trenches and into the roads of safety. As great a player Yuvraj is, it does seem harsh.
Now to the second part of the statement: ‘since the star himself was in good shape physically and was batting as well as ever, it was a win-win for all’.
Since retiring from international cricket in June 2019, Yuvraj has played the T20 tournament in Canada, the T10 event in Abu Dhabi and the curtailed Road Safety Series in India.
Very little else. Going by what aged players do in the nets could be a terrible way to judge whether someone has it or not.
The last word in this matter rests with Sourav Ganguly and Jay Shah. The former knows Yuvraj well and will think hard about his request.
Apart from the possibility of ridiculing with the rules, it is also the question allowing one of his talents to do what he did at the start of his career.
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