Chennai, March 21: The batsman who was contemplating retirement in the middle of 2010 while in the midst of a lean patch which saw him display the grossest of inconsistency, is right back in the swing of things. And what better milieu to regain his drive for runs than the World Cup? Indeed, with an average of 56.80 and strike rate hovering around 95 in the ongoing global tournament as well as several wickets in the kitty, Yuvi had reinstated himself as a vital cog in the Indian machinery.
With a string of robust performances in the Cup highlighted by his masterful century against the West Indies on Sunday, March 20, Yuvraj has demonstrated a distinctive maturity and character in his batting. For a moment it seemed that in the match, his efforts would be overshadowed by the fiery spell from the Windies' Ravi Rampaul, whose 5/51 effected a latter order decline in the Indian innings. But at the end of the day and in the context of as engagement in which the Windies went down by 80 runs, one couldn't overlook the magnitude of Yuvraj's contribution towards India's win.
The stage was set for a foundation-building stand when Yuvraj came to the crease in the 9th over with India's score at 51/2. Coming out tops in a mind-game with the bowlers at that stage of the match, Yuvraj counter-attacked with a four each off Rampaul and then Andre Russell in successive overs.
Then after receiving a bit of good fortune in the form of a dropped catch by Windies captain Darren Sammy, he buckled down to piling on the singles and twos with Virat Kohli. But even that routine was punctuated with flashes of aggression from Yuvi, like when he lofted Sammy for a maximum in the 20th over to take India past 100.Before the men from the Caribbean knew what had hit them, Yuvraj and Kohli had
taken Indian past 150 while notching up the 100-run stand along the way. Even after Kohli departed, Yuvraj kept his guard admirably and kept counter-attacking. He even weathered the storm stirred up by leg-spinner Devendra Bishoo, getting him away for a couple of boundaries including one to take the score past 200. Then, shortly afterward, he ran a single off Kioron Pollard to bring up his century. Finally, Yuvraj fell playing a tired return catch to Pollard.
But Yuvraj has more than signaled that he is back to his destructive best, not only with the bat but also with the ball. He has taken around 9 wickets in the Cup so far, showing he has what it takes to contribute whole-heartedly. India will be hoping he can keep up the good work as they take on Australia in the quarterfinal on Thursday, March 24.