Frankly, I find this obsession with Yuvraj Singh quite baffling especially at a time when he is not performing. While Dhoni and his mates continue to sing cliched praises of the once star all-rounder, the fact is that Yuvraj is not merely going through a “bad phase” in terms of his form, but definitely, his career is moving south, just like BCCI chief Srinivasan’s cricketing fortunes.
For Dhoni and his team, the two surprisingly easy wins against under-performing opponents like Pakistan and the West Indies in the ongoing T20 World Cup would have come as a huge relief. In both the matches, the Indian bowling stood out, especially Mishra who seems to have rediscovered himself.
The wins notwithstanding, the sour point has been Yuvraj’s continuing failure with the bat and also as a fielder. And to think that Mallya has shelled out Rs 14 Crore for this once match-winning all-rounder!
There has been far too much hype about Yuvraj with even the TV commentators lending their voice to this cacophony. I feel that he is totally undeserving of his spot in the team while another all-rounder Stuart Binny is being treated like an unwelcome visitor.
Clearly, Yuvraj’s best days are behind him and though he might yet produce the odd innings just to remind us of his peak, his exit from the National team will be far more beneficial than his extended stay. It is pointless to say that “one long stay” in the middle will do the trick for Yuvraj and the sooner the team is rid of him the better it is, especially keeping in mind the 50-over World Cup next year.
Likewise, it is best that the team moves on rather than look back on the likes of Sehwag and Gambhir both of whom have been overtaken by events and younger men who have been performing. Also, neither player can justifiably complain about lack of opportunities. Rather, both have enjoyed considerable support even during their off-days. Any attempt to revisit the past would be only detrimental to the interests of the team.
India go up against a struggling Bangladesh on Friday. Theoretically, it presents an opportunity for the non-performers in the team like Yuvraj another opportunity to get some runs and thus prolong their stay. If there is any truth in the stories emanating from Bangladesh, then it is more than likely that another lifeline would be thrown to Yuvraj, and if it is so, then India would have wasted another chance to try out the bench-warmers.
While the Indian team is enjoying a good spell after the recent defeats, back home, the sport is in a turmoil following Supreme Court’s strictures against Srinivasan, his India Cements team, Chennai Super Kings and the Rajasthan Royals even as there is a growing clamour for cancellation of this year’s IPL.
By having a part of the IPL matches in the Gulf, the BCCI is only serving an open invitation for unscrupulous bookies to indulge in their favourite past-time of match fixing. Never mind the so-called “security cordon” that will be thrown around the IPL teams during their tenure there, but playing matches in the Gulf is akin to entering the Lion’s den and hoping to leave it without being harmed by the animal.
In the meantime, it remains to be seen how Srinivasan would react to the Supreme Court’s latest pronouncements. The very fact that he has declined to step down from his BCCI post in itself suggests that Srinivasan, quite typically, is not prepared to give in.
Besides being a very ambitious man, he might want to brazen it out or resort to another clever ploy to remain in power, like he did last year. However, this time around, the odds are stacked against him and cocking a snook at the Supreme Court would only invite more problems for him.
In any case, we will know his stand in less than 24 hours as the BCCI has been given time until 10.30 am on the morrow to submit its response. And that will be another story. Whatever, as in life, sins of the past have a habit of catching up and I suspect, it is a matter of time before the edifice of BCCI comes crumbling down.
This is as good a time as any to clean up the Augean stables of the BCCI and perhaps, induct younger men and fresh faces with no baggage to run the sport in the country. It is a heaven sent opportunity that should not be missed.