Archive for January, 2006

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January 22, 2006

I’m back after a harrowing trip.  Watch this space for some new posts within the next day or two.

Yuvraj still an enigma

January 6, 2006

Yuvraj Singh has been in good form of late.  However, I have noticed that luck has had as much to do with it as Yuvraj.  In the last two tests against SL, he redeemed his first innings’ ducks with knocks of 70-odd runs in the second innings.  His half century in the second test, however, is the scratchiest in my recent memory.  He was out of his depth against some good bowling by both Vaas and Murali.  Only when they were removed from the attack was he able to push the scoring rate.  He was lucky to have survived until then, as Murali bamboozled him time and again.  This is not something new.  He’s known to struggle against both a spinning and a seaming bowl.  In the first ODI against SA, he scripted the revival of the Indian innings with a century that was laden with edges flying through the vacant fourth slip area.  It was a good effort, but you wonder what would’ve happened if Smith had persisted with a full slip cordon.

His fielding is, without a doubt, over-rated.  He may be a good fielder, but falls far short of standards set by Rhodes, Ponting, Symonds and the like.  With the arrival of Suresh Raina, I can unequivocally say that he’s not the best fielder in the side either.  He is swift to get to the ball, but fumbles the pick-up and misses the shy at the stumps as often as anybody else.  Rarely have I seen take extraordinary catches that others in his place wouldn’t have been able to pouch.  Why then the commentators go on and on about this fielding baffles me.  It seems their comments are based more on hearsay than practical evidence.

Yuvraj burst onto the international scene with a sensational knock against Australia and promises of more to come.  His star, since then, has see-sawed.  I am not saying he should be dumped, but his place in the team is still not secured.  He needs to prove that he’s worthy of the spot in the national team.  He probably deserves a few more chances, but I think Kaif should be given equal opportunities in Tests.  There is room for only one of the two, and until one establishes himself as the clear choice for the no. 6 position, both should be tried out.  The team management clearly prefers Yuvraj, and I am not sure why.

His preference for bouncy pitches is as well-known as his distaste for spin.  With Haq requesting fast, hard pitches in the upcoming Test series, I won’t be surprised if Yuvraj does well.