In the pre-series press conference in Adelaide, Ravi Shastri spoke about the morale of the seniors returning to the T20 fold.
Stressing upon Yuvraj Singh, the team director said, “Yuvraj Singh is an impact player. He has a proven record as well as a fabulous record in T20 cricket. He is explosive and he is a match winner. If he fires early for us there will be nothing like it.”
In an otherwise comprehensive 37-run win over Australia in the first T20I, Yuvraj Singh was conspicuous by his near-absence. Though he was included in the 11 players, he did not get a chance to bat. But, he bowled one over on his return to the international arena, after nearly 2 years.
After Dhawan was dismissed, surprisingly Suresh Raina was sent out to bat, while everyone expected Yuvraj to make an entry. India’s problem pertains to the middle order, and what the India team management is trying to achieve here in the T20I series in Australia.
To ascertain their form and fitness for the upcoming World T20, Yuvraj and Raina were brought back, the inner source says. Playing both left-handers provides an eager balance to the side, one that India painstakingly missed during the ODI series.
He scored 346 runs in 6 innings at an average of 69.20 in the Vijay Hazare Trophy (List A), while he scored 56 runs in 4 innings in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy. But, the two squads for this Australian tour were picked in December, T20 tournament had yet to take off, and as such, his inclusion here was riding on that particular performance in the Vijay Hazare Trophy.
On the bowling side, in 50-over matches, he picked a single wicket in 28 overs while picking up two in T20s.
It is not to say that his place in the side is not justified, especially as India is struggling to find an Allrounder, at the same time, though, past laurels cannot guarantee a spot when a World Cup is on the horizon.
When he last played for India, in the 2014 World T20 in Bangladesh, Yuvraj was a poor shadow of his glorious self, and cut for a sorry figure in the final against Sri Lanka. It will be a sin to subject him to the same fate once again, and thus it must be ascertained soonest what he has to offer to the team in 2016.
By Phani Ch