Team India’s squad for the Asia Cup and the World T20 will be announced on Friday, February 4. Of all the Indian cricket stars, Yuvraj Singh’s selection for the two premier tournaments will be most discussed about. Yuvraj has had little to do in the Australia T20I series Down Under. Is it enough for him to board the bus to the World T20 squad?
During the third T20I against Australia at Sydney, Yuvi struggled to connect, but came good in the last over to steer India to victory. He cracked 11 runs off three balls in the last over to provide the impetus to the successful chase that was completed by another southpaw Suresh Raina. Dhoni was not needed during the chase as the two southpaws completed the formalities.
In the recent past, India has struggled to finish off games as apart from Dhoni there was no other experienced player to support him. Whenever Dhoni struggled, India too faltered. The loss in the fourth ODI at Canberra is a case in point where after Dhoni’s dismissal for a duck, India collapsed to lose the match from a winning position.
With the option of another couple of big hitters — Yuvraj Singh and Suresh Raina, Dhoni can breathe easy with less pressure on his shoulders to finish off games. The experience of Yuvraj will come in handy too whenever there is a top-order collapse.
Yuvraj can even dominate the attack if need arises and steer India from troubled waters.
But the big question is whether Yuvi is in top form that made him such a lethal weapon during India’s two victorious campaigns in 2007 World T20 and 2011 50-overs World Cup?
The nightmarish 2014 World T20 final against Sri Lanka is still fresh in memory. Yuvi failed to get going and struck a sluggish 21-ball 11 to turn villain. India remained unbeaten throughout the tournament except in the final to Sri Lanka.
But what recent ODI series against South Africa and Australia has suggested is that India has missed a quality batsman in middle-lower order who can give support to Dhoni to finish off games. With Raina and Dhoni struggling too during that phase, India has faltered in the death overs.
With both Raina and Yuvraj in the line-up now, Dhoni would be spoilt for choices. Besides, it gives more options to Dhoni as the two southpaws are also quality part-time bowlers who can be more than useful in the upcoming T20 tournaments.
Selectors would perhaps keep the 2014 past behind and give another chance to Yuvraj to have a shot at World T20 glory. The 2016 World T20 will be Yuvraj’s route to redemption if he is selected for it.