The experience of international cricket for more than a decade must surely have taught him a few lessons, writes Makarand Waingankar
Comeback is not just another technical sports term. A cricketer can just not decide to come back one fine day and thus start playing. Underlying a comeback are painfully anxious moments of self-doubt. It keeps reminding you of your failures. All you can think is around the word — if. ‘What happens if I fail? ‘Why was I dropped in the first place’, ‘Will I be able to do what I couldn’t do right last time?’
Yuvraj Singh has made an exceptional impact on the game in less than a month after he underwent treatment for cancer, but he is human nevertheless. How can he be an exception to this comeback nightmare? All the knowledgeable in medical science had apprehensions about his early entry in international cricket. Will he be able to combat situations? Will his body be able to take the rigors of the fast T20 game?
Some of the former Test cricketers made outrageous statements. That he wasn’t technically perfect could be seen but it is also true that technique is anyway at a discount in T20. In any case he was never a slave of technique.
What is now clear is while scoring a double hundred in the Duleep Trophy, he had set a goal to spend more time in the middle. And as a cricket adage goes, “the more time you spend in the middle, the more runs you would score”.
Very intelligently, Yuvraj introspected and realised that the need of the hour is to put more runs in the small square of the scoresheet so that it will impress the selection committee which is going to pick the Test team against England. It is important that he plays Tests more because at the end of one’s career, a player is known by the number of Tests he has played.
We all know about the misfortune that characterised Yuvraj’s Test chances earlier with India having a packed middle order. But with Dravid and Laxman retiring from international cricket, Yuvraj and Zaheer Khan are next to Tendulkar in the list of seniors.
Perhaps he will now get to bat at number five for India, a position he ought to have occupied from the 2010 Sri Lanka tour. Hopefully we will get to watch a more matured but natural strokeplay.
The experience of being an international cricketer for more than a decade must surely have taught him a few lessons and one of them is not to take the place in the team for granted. He must also be aware of the fact there will be no more sympathy from anyone. What now matters is consistent performance. He showed us what he is capable of in the 2011 World Cup. His commitment level is at a premium. Thanks to the guidance from his mother Shabnam, he is doing what a professional cricketer needs to do: stay focussed on the goal that he has set.
An illness does not just mean sitting on the bed all day. It kills you from inside. It demolishes everything that was stable in your life. But, certain setbacks make you a better person. Life threatening illness also makes you wonder about life, it makes you think about things which you would have never thought about before. It gives you a new insight, a new face of life.
This winter will test his character, skills and commitment and when these aspects run in veins, nothing can stop anyone from performing. It’s a matter of time before we get to watch the revised version of Yuvraj Singh.
Keywords: Yuvraj Singh