A lot of fans were disappointed when ace all-rounder Yuvraj Singh was not picked up for the ODI World Cup going on in Australia and New Zealand.
Yuvi has had a downright brilliant career. In his very first ODI innings of his life, he hit a quick 84 off 80 as we beat Australia in the quarters of the 2000 ICC KnockOut Trophy. He was the star of the famous ODI triangular Lord’s victory in 2002.
He hit a blistering six sixes in one over in the 2007 T20 World Cup and was Man of the Series for the 2011 ODI World Cup. It would have been great to have him in the squad and his father Yograj Singh has kicked up a new controversy saying that he’s not in the team due to Indian captain MS Dhoni.
While emotions are running high, there are a few points to note in the whole controversy…
- Yuvi was dropped for being out of form: Yuvi last played ODIs way back in 2013. In 18 matches that year he scored just 276 runs (Rohit Sharma scored 264 in a single ODI) at an average of just 19.7 and low strike rate of 78.4. That is why he was dropped and he did not play in the whole of 2014. So it is very difficult for a player who has flopped in 2013 and not played ODIs in 2014 to be picked up for an important tournament in 2015.
- Dhoni may not be the cause: Before a major tournament like the World Cup, the selection board picks up 30 probables. Usually the captain doesn’t has a say in the 30 World Cup probable. His inputs are taken, but generally the board decides. That’s because he has big a say in the final 15. But not only Yuvi, even Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Harbhajan Singh and Zaheer Khan weren’t in the 30 probables.
Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly, Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman were dropped up for the 2007 T20 World Cup and we won. That’s why the selection board decided to do away with them in the future. Similarly, Yuvi, Viru, Gauti, Bhajji and Zaks were not there in the 2013 ICC Champions Trophy which we won, so they may have been effectively retired.
When you drop seniors for an ICC Trophy and the youngsters win, then it becomes very difficult for them to make a comeback. That’s a call more likely taken by the BCCI and not Dhoni.
- Yuvi’s international T20 status: Yuvi may not have played in ODIs in 2014, but he was part of the 2014 T20 World Cup. He didn’t play in the sole international T20 in England maybe because the board didn’t want to send him for just one match. So what is Yuvi’s international T20 status? Is he in contention for the 2016 T20 World Cup? The BCCI should clarify.
- Why are retirements handled so shabbily? The BCCI has the right to pick and drop any player and even announce that they are retiring someone. So why do they handle everything so shabbily? Why no grace? Ganguly, Dravid and Laxman were great players who had abrupt ends.
Every great player like the ones mentioned above when being retired should be given one last retirement series to go out in style. Only Tendulkar got that honour and absolutely nobody else.
- The timing of Yograj’s tirade: The timing of the whole issue is very suspect. It was only when Yuvi netted a mammoth amount of Rs 16 crores that his father raked up the controversy. Was Dhoni’s name invoked to make sure the controversy would rage on?
While Yuvi effectively seems to be retired from both Tests and ODIs, there is a chance that he may still play in the 2016 T20 World Cup. Why does his father want to sabotage his son’s chances for that?
The BCCI may get angry and end Yuvi’s international T20 career too and that would be a shame despite his slow innings in the last final.
Yograj in the end may have damaged his son more than he has backed him.
The author is a Bengaluru-based journalist and blogger.
He blogs at http://sunilrajguru.com/