The Telegraph
Thursday , March 27 , 2014
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Yuvraj slogs it out to regain form

Yuvraj Singh

Dhaka: For someone used to making comebacks, including from a life-threatening cancer, challenges only spur him on to scale new peaks. If Yuvraj Singh is feeling the pressure, he isn’t showing it. Rather he’s enjoying the surge that pressure brings, portraying the steely determination and dedication that has always been his forte.

Scores of 1 against Pakistan and 10 from 19 deliveries before the last-over dismissal against West Indies have done no justice to his reputation in the comeback trail after being ignored for the Asia Cup. Add to it, the two spilled catches in the deep.

Mahendra Singh Dhoni, though, has reposed his faith in the all-rounder knowing well that he can be a “match-winner” in this format. “Yuvraj is the best player in T20s. It takes one-two matches and we are only hoping if he gets a good flow, a good game…” the Team India captain said after the second match.

As the Indians got back to business after a two-day break, Yuvraj’s hard work during the two-hour session didn’t go unnoticed. He knows well that another failure against Bangladesh on Friday could bring the axe down on him.

Having taken a significant step towards making the semi-finals of the World T20, the Indians wouldn’t want to go into the knock-out stage with a short-on confidence Yuvraj or a short on match-practice Ajinkya Rahane.

Don’t forget the Player of the Tournament in the 2011 World Cup has a knack of excelling in such high-profile events. This format allows Yuvraj to play with freedom and a few good strokes will always do his confidence a world of good.

He seemed to be in good nick during afternoon nets on Wednesday, concentrating mostly on playing along the ground while cutting down on the risky shots.

While some preferred to relax after batting at the nets, Yuvraj honed his bowling skills for more than half an hour and was among the last few to leave the training field.

Virat Kohli and Suresh Raina also spent much time in the nets. Virat batted in two different nets comprising pace and spin bowlers before taking a few throw-downs from Trevor Penny.

With the team winning, India can always afford to play Yuvraj in the group matches. But if he fails against Bangladesh, it will leave Dhoni with a strange conundrum. He would have always preferred the experience and explosive qualities of Yuvraj against Australia or in the semi-finals than have a ‘rookie’ like Rahane in the side.

Not willing to take a risk, the team management gave Rahane a decent stint during nets in Mirpur. But if Yuvraj’s focus and intensity is anything to go by, Friday’s match against Bangladesh could re-ignite the spark in him.

Despite two victories in their kitty, the Indians cannot afford to underestimate Bangladesh. The hosts’ performance may have nose-dived recently, but Dhoni men’s would do well to remember the experiences of the 2007 World Cup in the West Indies and the 2012 Asia Cup here.

Bangladesh celebrated its Independence Day on Wednesday with the city draped in its national flag colours. Mushfiqur Rahim and Co. also took part in the celebrations at the stadium where they will be keen to make a turnaround against India.

Will Yuvraj manage to rediscover his cavalier approach or will Bangladesh show its giant killing qualities again?