Yuvraj Singh is competing for the title of the Man-of-Comebacks of all time. After suffering from a life- threatening illness, he has managed to surprise everyone by recovering at a speed that no-one expected him to.
It is normal to feel sympathy for a person because of his ill-fate, but sympathy cannot grant him a place in the national side. Performance is what matters in the end.
Chemotherapy is not just any treatment. It affects a person severely. The special fitness regime Yuvraj undertook recently turned out to be a big decision and when we met at Bishan Singh Bedi’s actor son Angad Singh’s place in Mumbai for a meal, Yuvraj looked lean and strong; his diet and appetite seemed healthy. The only missing feature was his boyish enthusiasm and pranks; Yuvraj sounded philosophical and measured in his utterances.
He has never been known as a person to set goals for the future. He always came across as a happy-go-lucky person who loved to enjoy the present. Yuvraj should trust his cheerful nature once more to make a comeback in the team.
The media has always tried to make a mountain out of a molehill about his competition with Suresh Raina. Now left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja appears to be a good option for selection. Reading about yourself being compared to others every day in the media can make one move away from the game. A cricketer is a human too and rejection can cause lack of confidence.
The few weeks spent with Zaheer Khan seem to have made Yuvraj more mature and he is full of spirits and yet not getting carried away with it.
There are times when it looks like he is born only to play limited-overs cricket. All he needs is the right mood, and the rhythm will follow.
He has played only 40 Tests in a decade. But it must be remembered that he was treated as a substitute in the Indian Test team; replacing the greats in the team when they were on the physio’s table. It has to be accepted that for the sparkling centuries against Pakistan and Australia, he ought to have been given a long rope.
Yuvraj’s aim now should be to cement his place in the Test side. He needs to work with a batting coach of repute and iron out a few technical flaws that professional bowlers constantly probe.
It is beyond doubt that the Indian Test team needs him in the middle order. But it is also true that the Yuvraj we need is not completely present in front of us; he has to be remade by showing trust. The captain and selectors need to make him feel wanted and the old Yuvraj Singh will soon emerge to take our breath away on the field again.