Former national selector Saba Karim has come out strongly in support of veteran Yuvraj Singh and said that the flamboyant all-rounder can make a comeback.
Yuvraj was dropped from the side after he and Suresh Raina failed to clear the fitness tests at the National Cricket Academy in Bangalore recently. Although Yuvraj was named in the probables for the Sri Lanka limited overs tour, the 35-year old failed to make the cut due to fitness issues.
Skipper Virat Kohli and chief coach Ravi Shastri made it clear that fitness is of paramount importance irrespective of who the player is and despite Yuvraj's proven match-winning skills, the ace cricketer was shown the door.
Speaking to a website, Karim not only backed the senior pro but also said that Yuvraj has got ample to offer.
"Discount Yuvraj at your own peril. He is like a phoenix who has time and again shown that he loves rising from the ashes and proving critics wrong. From past experience, I would think it is too early to say that the writing is on the wall. Yes, he has a few issues he needs to work on, but then, he is a champion performer and has time and again proved that.
"In fact, to be honest, we during our time as national selectors did for a short span think that it would be very difficult for Yuvraj to make it back to the national team. But I am equally happy to say that he proved us wrong and showed exemplary work ethics to make a return to the national team," he said.
The former selector further said that maintaining high fitness standards would be the biggest challenge for Yuvraj.
"Yes, Yuvi need to go back to the drawing board and plan accordingly. He does need to work on his fitness and play domestic games to keep reminding the selectors that he is keen to make it back to the national team. The road is definitely not easy and trust me, nobody knows that better than the man himself," he said.
When asked if it would be difficult for Yuvraj to make a comeback given that young players like Manish Pandey and Kedar Jadhav are doing well, Karim said, "I do not think he will be looking much into how the current group is doing. It doesn't help to think much about those already out there. I am sure Yuvraj would be more interested in working on his game and waiting for the opportune moment when he gets his turn and would wish to make the most of it."
Although many feel that Yuvraj is over the hill, Karim is of the opinion that the scenario keeps changing from time to time.
"You cannot say A fits the bill or B fits the bill on a permanent basis. It all changes from situation to situation and you never know when the team management feels that the experience of someone like Yuvraj would suit the bill perfectly. Surely too early to say that the writing is on the wall," he said.