Bring Back Yuvi

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That moment would remain forever etched in our memory 

Go back to the T20 World Cup in 2007, a new look Team India under a new captain in MS Dhoni was there to compete. No one gave them a chance, not even Indian commentator like Ravi Shastri. Still, India ended the tournament as the champions of the inaugural World T20 Championship and a man named Yuvraj Singh played some scintillating knocks to ensure that India wins the trophy.

Who can forget those 6 sixes in an over against Stuart Broad and 70 runs in 30 balls in the semifinal against the Aussies?

Move ahead a few years to 2011. Yuvraj was woefully out of form before ODI World Cup, but Dhoni believed in Yuvraj ‘The Match Winner’. Yuvraj proved the experts, most of them were advocating for him to be dropped, wrong: with 362 runs and 15 wickets, he was named as the player of the tournament of 2011 ODI World Cup.

So, the match winning capability of Yuvraj is never in doubt; neither is his ability to perform in big matches (remember the 2002 NatWest final). He can change any match on its head with his bowling, batting or fielding. But post T20 World Cup in 2014, Yuvraj never represented India. Questions were raised on his fitness level, his diminishing ability to run fast between the wickets, lapse of concentration while batting, and also his below-standard fielding.

Things seem to be changing now for Yuvraj. His last few innings in the domestic cricket gives one the feeling of young Yuvraj who is much fitter and hungry for success. He is among the top scorers with three consecutive centuries on different kind of tracks. He looks sharp in field too.

With Ravindra Jadeja being injured and with the kind of form Yuvraj is in, he deserves a place in the World Cup team. He would provide an option of a bowling all-rounder in absence of Jadeja. He is more than a handy bowler; his wicket-taking knack would help India in the middle overs. Big Australian grounds would also help his slow bowling, as chances of batsmen being caught at boundary would be high. He, along with Raina, can fill in quota of 5th bowler, which would give India an option to play with an extra batsman on flat tracks. Dhawan is also woefully out of form, which may force Dhoni to open with Rahane. In such a case, Yuvraj can even fit in the number 4/5/6 slot that is still not cemented by any other player. Stroke-maker like Yuvraj would be an asset especially while chasing a target. With three match-winners like Raina, Yuvraj and Dhoni in the middle order, Indian team would be much stronger. His previous experience of playing in Australia and his big match experiences would also help India. He would also add value to already sharp fielding of India. His catching & fielding ability is at par with any young fielder of team India. He is just 33 years of age and few years of cricket is left in him. He is not too old to be kept out of the team India on pretext of giving chance to youngsters.

With kind of performances Yuvraj has given for the team in the past and with kind of form he is in, a fit-again Yuvraj deserves this chance. Selectors should keep all this in mind before they select team for World Cup on 6th January. Dhoni kept his faith in Yuvraj before World Cup in 2011; he should do same this time too. But how much say Dhoni has over the selectors now is another question.

Whatever be the case, Yuvraj, given his form and his match-winning ability, deserves to be picked.

In Reply To Tom Alter

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With Test No 1 Trophy

Dear Tom Alter

I know that you are sulking with reasons best known to you. But let me clear some cobwebs of your brain.

You said that two players left series overseas and were branded as traitors but you didn’t tell that circumstances were different then. Dhoni didn’t leave the series, he retired when series was done and dusted with Australia taking invincible lead. Earlier instances of players leaving were may be of proving a point to others/selectors/captains whereas Dhoni did it to prolong his ODI career that he loves the most.

Your second point is “Mahendra Singh Dhoni chooses to exit before he is removed – and with arrogance, such blind faith in his image.” What you call as arrogance is matter of respectfully retiring which is not done by any Indian greats in last 25 years. But I guess you have blind faith in earlier pattern of dragging career till the time fans start to abuse and players are forced to retire. It is always said that a player should retire when people ask – why and not when. You seem to be a fan of when.

Your third point is about being bosses’ favourite and money. For your information he is people’s favourite first and has made his name long before his alleged proximity with Srinivasan. Let me ask you when Sachin retired last year did he break any contract? When Kumble retired middle of the series did he break any contract? I didn’t see any scathing comments from you then. Can I ask, why you were silent then? A player has his prerogative to decide when to retire. Of all things he has done, least he would bother to go and ask some Tom Alter to decide about his retirement timing. So please don’t suggest him when to retire and what to do.

And then you insinuate that one of the reasons Dhoni was at helm for long was because he is loved by corporate. FYI Kohli is equally loved by corporate. So would you say that he has been named Captain because of it? Answer for me is a big NO. They both got captaincy because of their leadership quality and great performances. You are free to believe otherwise.

Let me ask you when was the last time you watched cricket. You say that Dhoni had not played any competitive cricket for two months before the second Test, and we take him back as both captain and player. So by your logic Captain should be changed after every off-season of two months. I would really like to know from you that when did that happen in cricketing history. Answer would be never or may be once or twice in history. So why should that apply to Dhoni? Answer would be best known to you.

Equally laughable is your comment that now country has became all about image building and history doesn’t matter. Let me tell you some history that you chose to forgot. Dhoni won two World Cups, One Champions Trophy and made India No 1 side in Tests. Yes I know you would like to remind people of overseas loss. But let me enlighten you why India didn’t win matches overseas and why it may lose last one at Sydney too. Its because with such pathetic bowling line up even combined captaincy brain of Imran, Steve Waugh, and Ganguly would find it hard to win matches. If Dhoni was not good captain, he would not have won in India too.

It’s not Dhoni who broke the sacred bond but it’s you and other media persons who are trying to break bond between Indian cricket and its lovers by painting a very grim scenario just before the World Cup. Such a damming article without even thinking of how it affects players’ morale tell us how much you love Indian Cricket. In my opinion it is not Dhoni but you who should be banned from further writing on cricket.

Get well soon Tom, I still watch first interview of Sachin that you took and still love every moment of it.

With Love

From an Indian Cricket & Dhoni Fan

This article has also been published at sportskeeda here