Ahmedabad: Yuvraj Singh, MoM in Friday’s T20 International against Pakistan, has dedicated his award to Sachin Tendulkar, who will now only be playing Test cricket.
Sachin had been unavailable for the T20s and, on Sunday, announced retirement from the ODIs as well.
“This is my first MoM award after Sachin’s announcement... I’ll be missing him in the dressing room during the ODIs... I’m already feeling bad,” Yuvraj, the T20 king, told The Telegraph at the Courtyard by Marriott.
Speaking moments after the team returned to the hotel, Yuvraj also remembered the 23-year-old gang rape victim who is extremely critical at the Mount Elizabeth Hospital in Singapore.
“I hope she gets the best medical treatment... I just hope she can pull through... My prayers are with her,” Yuvraj, who has himself battled cancer, said with considerable emotion.
Last week, after being adjudged the MoM in the first T20 International versus England (in Pune), Yuvraj had dedicated his award to the young lady.
Among other things, Yuvraj had stated: “This is for the victim and her parents... It’s very sad to know what has happened and the whole team is concerned... It has been very disturbing. I am sure the whole of India is rooting for her recovery.”
It was moving, to say the least.
Yuvraj unleashed a blinder (72) in Motera, recording a strike-rate of 200 per cent, an innings which featured seven sixes and four boundaries.
The senior pro really stepped it up in the 18th and 19th overs, smashing a bemused Sohail Tanvir for two sixes in a row and, then, taking three in a row off an absolutely stunned Saeed Ajmal.
Thanks to Yuvraj, India totalled an intimidating 192 for five, with 74 of those runs coming in the last five overs.
However, Pakistan almost got there, finishing on a fighting 181 for seven.
The two-match series, therefore, ended 1-1.
Ashok Dinda was outstanding in his last two overs (the innings’ 17th and 19th).
Speaking exclusively, Dinda said: “Feels very nice... Onek bhalo lagche... I was looking to keep the runs down and to fire yorkers... It worked out well... It’s a very good win for us.”
Dinda gave away six runs in each of those overs, picking up one wicket in the 17th and two in the 19th. Umar Akmal’s dismissal (146 for three) in the 17th over proved to be the turning point.
Besides, India’s fielding was top-class, with Rohit Sharma, Suresh Raina and Virat Kohli bringing off superb catches.
“Our fielding won it for us,” Yuvraj, who’d been the star in India’s World Cup win over Australia here 21 months ago, pointed out, rather modestly.
Actually, it was a team effort, with Yuvraj leading the way.
Pakistan’s captain Mohammed Hafeez, meanwhile, was adjudged the Man of the Series. He deserved it.
Footnote: Mohammed Irfan is certain to stay back for the ODIs. Possibly, even Shoaib Malik. Shahid Afridi has hurt his chances.