| Pakistan stand-in captain Younis Khan after missing a catch on Saturday. (AFP)
Bangalore: After the truly exhilarating Bengal Tiger-Punjab da Sher show on Saturday, Younis Khan is bound to run even further away from the captaincy.
On the eve of the final Test, after all, he’d admitted “...Main kaptani se bhagta rehta hoon...”
Indeed, there can’t be any place for reluctant captains when a solid Sourav Ganguly and a wowing Yuvraj Singh begin to fire on all cylinders.
With India four down for 61 (23rd over), Younis and his men seemed to be in heaven. But then came a memorable counter-attack from the former captain and his find.
As a result, by stumps on Day I, Pakistan were on the mat despite making stunning early inroads.
To talk of the scene stealers...
Well, over the years, Sourav and Yuvraj have found themselves projected in different roles: Mentor and protege, briefly even rivals for a middle-order berth and, more recently, as senior pro and somewhat of an understudy.
At the Chinnaswamy Stadium, despite being in his first Test appearance in 17 months, Yuvraj showed that he belonged to the biggest stage. His 169 was, quite simply, brilliant.
It’s rare for a No.6 to score that many on the opening day of a Test. Yuvraj should’ve got a double and had reason to be upset at getting out when only minutes remained for the close.
As for Sourav, he didn’t have to prove anything, but scripted a high-on-quality unbeaten hundred — second in a week — and encouraged the younger left-hander to bat in the sublime manner that he did.
Sourav and Yuvraj added an awesome 300 for the fifth wicket, a partnership which erased more than one record.
Now, captain Anil Kumble and Lalchand Rajput (effectively coach on the forthcoming tour of Australia), plus chief selector Dilip Vengsarkar and his colleagues must consider persuading Rahul Dravid to open with Wasim Jaffer.
That way, there’ll be place for Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav, V.V.S. Laxman and Yuvraj in the middle-order. With Mahendra Singh Dhoni to follow, that’s a line-up to make many turn green with envy.
“I suppose that has to be done... Don’t think there’s a way out if all have to play,” accepted somebody in a position of authority within the Board of Control for Cricket in India.
Yuvraj, for his part, said he wasn’t looking ahead (specifically to the composition of the XI for the Boxing Day Test at the MCG). “The priority, at this moment, is to win this Test and the series...”
Asked by The Telegraph to list his first thoughts on getting to his third hundred (all have been versus Pakistan, with the first two in a losing cause), Yuvraj replied: “I told myself I deserved this one... That I’d waited and worked very hard on my game... I also thought of my Guruji, who has been a source of such strength...”
Well deserved, yes.