When he ballooned the ball to Harbhajan Singh, who accepted the ball gleefully, the expression that appeared on the face of Yuvraj Singh said it all in the match between Mumbai Indians and Kings XI Punjab that was played in Mumbai yesterday! Yuvi’s heart did not appear to belong in the ground at all.
Cricket indeed therefore is a game of glorious uncertainties. If we rewind back to the T20 World Cup where Yuvraj bashed 6 sixes in an over, to the present IPL tournament it would be amply clear that too much water has indeed passed under the bridge and Yuvraj is not the same Yuvi that he was earlier.
Was the sense of detachment owing to the fact that he was asked to bat at number 5, though Kumar Sangakara was not playing? Whatever be the case, Yuvraj’s performance with the bat in the current IPL as also his fielding that charged the playing team has lost its razor edge.
If one compares the performance of Yuvi with Sachin in the IPL in the present season, the gap between the two performances is indeed yawning. Sachin is commandeering the proceedings of the game both with the bat, as also through his captainship, while neither is Yuvi’s bat talking nor is he showing an inclination to take off and capture the IPL through his performance.
Kings XI Punjab as a team was built around the persona of Yuvi, as he was the most valuable player for the team. However in a matter of three seasons he seems to have lost his edge. Is the less than scintillating performance owing to the fact that he is no more captain of the team, and therefore his heart is not in the game at all.
While the management of Kings XI Punjab may not be worrying much about the bating, as Shaun Marsh has joined the team and has bolstered the ranks of batsman, the Indian team management indeed should be worried. With no Sachin the middle order, the batting would depend heavily on Yuvi, and is he does not perform with the bat in a desired manner; it could become problematic for the team when it proceeds to participate in the T-20 World Cup immediately after the IPL.
Most of the players are using the IPL as the occasion to prepare for T-20 World Cup, and Yuvi also needs to tighten his loin and let his bat do the talking. After all, form is transient and class is permanent, and he is a batsman who has class.
By: Suman Rai