Calcutta: In his first first-class innings since making a successful comeback into cricket after battling cancer, Yuvraj Singh smashed an unbeaten 133 for North Zone on the opening day of their Duleep Trophy tie against Central Zone, in Hyderabad.
As Yuvraj set about to prove that he has regained the fitness to play the longer format of the game, his innings will be a timely reminder to the selectors ahead of the Test series against England, starting next month.
Yuvraj’s century and a 121 from opener Shikhar Dhawan pushed North Zone to a strong 346 for four against Central. His last match in the longer format was the Test against the West Indies, at the Eden, last November.
On the eve of the match he was cautious.
“This is my first first-class game (after the illness), so I don’t know how my body will behave,” Yuvraj had said.
“I know my body will get tired, but I need to get through the four days.”
Yuvraj started off by playing the T20s against New Zealand and then played the World T20 in Colombo. In India’s last engagement in the World T20, against South Africa, he was the Man of the Match.
He scored 21 off 15 balls and then took two for 23 in his four overs as India won by one run.
In an interview to The Telegraph the day after India’s campaign ended in the World T20, he had said: “I’ll have to assess my fitness in domestic cricket... I’ll then know where I stand via-a-vis the longer versions. There’s a Duleep Trophy match coming up...”
He didn’t play the match against West Zone, but has made a point on the opening day against Central.
He played only 152 deliveries for his unbeaten knock, smashed 20 fours and two sixes, both over deep mid-wicket.
The second six brought up his century.