It’s nice to see that Yuvraj Singh’s nuts-at-the-end-going capabilities are largely undiminished because going nuts at the end has always been very much his thing.
For their part, Pakistan’s end-nutsiness is largely irrelevant these days because they can’t reliably manoeuvre themselves into a position where it would be appropriate to deploy the long handle.
As an England fan, we can offer hope that there may one day be an end to the familiar ill-timed run-outs and forlorn trying-to-raise-the-run-rate catches in the deep. Don’t ask us when though. All we’re willing to say is that it could happen.
A few years ago, it was hard to avoid the feeling that Yuvraj Singh’s favourite cricketer was probably, on balance, after much careful consideration, Yuvraj Singh. However, he’s increasingly rounded and likeable and so it’s disappointing to see him merely flicker in Test cricket.
Today’s innings was vintage Yuvraj. He gave a couple of bafflingly unnecessary chances, hit some cracking shots and then lost his wicket just as it looked like India were embarking on one of those long, boundary-laden partnerships that whips the crowd into a fervour. He just never quite does it.
Sometimes Yuvraj looks like a batsman who can do anything. Unfortunately, one thing he can do is find really unexpectedly limp ways of getting out. We kind of get the vibe that one day he’ll realise this; that he’ll suddenly think: “Wait! What if I stopped spooning catches to run-saving fielders?” and that this will presage a dozen hundreds in a row.
At the same time, we also think that India’s selectors might think: “Wait! Why are we repeatedly picking someone who keeps spooning catches to run-saving fielders?”
Much has been made of the fact that MS Dhoni wants seven batsmen and four bowlers in his Twenty20 side, even though you have to use at least five bowlers.
‘Sacrilege’, people cry. Not really. Batsman number seven might not contribute much, but the value of a specialist bowler isn’t always so great in Twenty20 either.
Actually, let’s clarify that a little. A really good bowler is fantastic to have and may well win you the game. A pretty good bowler is often neither here nor there. Dhoni clearly feels that there isn’t much to choose between his fifth bowler and his part-timers. He might have a point.
It’s odd that Yuvraj Singh isn’t considered to be one of five bowlers. He seems to be kept in the ‘fiddling through some overs’ category, but his Twenty20 record’s pretty solid and he’s taken over a hundred wickets in one-day internationals.
Watching him bowl, you kind of feel that the batsman should be carefully selecting a stand in which to land the ball, but it never happens. He’s the irritating non-spinning spinner who you for some reason can’t slog. Twenty20 teams are built around those guys.
Yuvraj took 3-24 off four overs against Afghanistan today and other than Afghanistan’s fielders, he did as much as anyone to prevent an upset.
Don’t give us that ‘if Afghanistan had fielded better’ crap, by the way. They played pretty well, but fielding’s part of the game.
As in ‘returned’. He hasn’t got ankylosing spondylitis or anything.
But he did have cancer.
His return is great news. We can’t imagine how it must feel to have gone from being told you have cancer to then being clear and regaining your place in the India team. It’s only a Twenty20 squad, but hopefully he’ll appear in all formats. That Test record could do with a bit of spit and polish and Yuvraj will be a strong contender to take any vacant slots when he’s fully recovered.
It’s hardly the point, but surely he’ll be a better batsman for this experience. It’s trite to talk of perspective, but he’ll have near immunity to pressure now. How could other people’s expectations ever feel at all threatening to a man who’s been through what he has?
We can’t see him being as distracted either. It’s not like he’ll have had some Damascene conversion from being a fame-hungry poser to a deadly serious cricketer, because he was never the former and he’ll never be the latter. He’s been prone to sunglasses and complacency before though – he says as much himself. Now he just wants to enjoy himself.
Yuvraj Singh won the World Cup, coughing up blood between matches.
“Playing cricket after this, looks a lot easier.”
There might be some impressive stuff to come. Good luck to him.
There’s a good interview with Yuvraj Singh at Cricinfo. He’s always struck us as a man who thinks life is largely about wearing sunglasses, but that’s not the way he comes across here.
He talks quite thoughtfully about the challenges for young players and how he can offer them advice, but we liked the bathos of this bit:
“When I began playing, you could say the game was changing, the distractions were beginning. Now the distractions are too much and my advice to the younger guys is mostly not to be distracted by what is happening outside and to concentrate on the game.”
Do they listen?
“They don’t listen, especially Rohit and Virat.”
That’s Sharma and Kohli he’s on about. Name ’em and shame ’em, Yuvraj.
Yuvraj Singh is so cool, his coolness can’t be accommodated by one set of trendy, opaque eyewear.
His coolness is so dazzling that we need four sets of sunglasses ourself to even look at him.
This was England’s 500th one-day international. It was Yuvraj Singh’s 219th. Yuvraj is 26.
Once again Yuvraj hit a hundred. This time, he also took four wickets.
We’re not sure it would make a huge amount of difference, but we’re inclined to agree with everyone else in the entire world about England’s team selection.
There seems to be an attitude of ‘this is our best team and that’s the end of it’. We agree with that mentality to an extent, but there should be an acknowledgement that playing one-day cricket in England isn’t the same as playing one-day cricket in India.
Specifically, if pitches are conducive to spin, surely it makes most sense to employ your best spinners. That would be Monty Panesar, but he’s not in the squad, so Graeme Swann’s the next best.
England have a funny attitude to the art of spin bowling. They’d never dream of leaving out their best pace bowlers, no matter what the pitch. If there’s a hierarchy of roles in the England camp then spin bowlers are at the bottom. Just beneath the guy who pre-warms KP’s jockstrap.
Has any batsman every played a more destructive innings while wearing a girdle?
We’ve always liked Yuvraj Singh, but he’s lost a little bit of lustre lately. This is largely thanks to Sky Sports’ ‘look at all the cricket we’ve got’ advert which starts with a big orchestral crescendo, before breaking into soft indie music for an underwhelming montage of cricket footage.
Think of the start of the Stiltskin song off the old Levi’s ad, only instead of cutting to the loud Stiltskin bit, it’s some chump feigning an American accent over music that Busted would discard as too puny.
Anyway, at one point you see Yuvraj Singh celebrating winning a match. It was possibly the Twenty20 World Cup final, we can’t really remember. That’s not important though. What’s important is that he pulls a stump out of the ground and adopts this utterly contrived, muscle tensing contortion, which he holds for the cameras. At least that’s what it looks like: a big pose that he’d honed in front of the mirror.
If that’s not what’s happening, please let us know, because it’s excruciating to watch and the advert doesn’t seem to be going away in a hurry.
At one point in today’s whopping great 78-ball 138, Yuvraj Singh hit a six. Nothing unusual in that. He hit six in all. But this one was different.
His follow-through barely got to waist height. It was pretty much a lofted forward defensive, yet it sailed away. Batsmen shouldn’t be able to hit sixes without putting some effort in, no matter how well they time the ball. They really shouldn’t.
We’ve had a computer that hated the internet FOR ALL IT WAS WORTH for the last two days, so we’re a bit behind. We’re going to try and catch up, so brace yourselves for some three sentence updates that completely miss the point of what’s been going on.
Yuvraj Singh actually scored some runs in Australia was one thing that happened. He didn’t score them against Australia, but still – it’s a start. Yuvraj Singh has shamed us with his front-footed incompetence this tour and we’re not going to forgive him for ages.
Having now forgiven Yuvraj Singh, we henceforth urge him to take a leaf out of Kumar Sangakkara’s book. Now there’s a man who can score runs in Australia. There’s a man who does little else.
To return to the subject of the first paragraph, can anyone think of a suitable award for the top-level human who fixed our computer after hearing about 15 words of our description as to what was happening? This was after Major Corporation One had used three employees and five hours to tell us to take it down to Major Corporation Two and after Major Corporation Two had taken an hour or more to tell us it was ‘either a software or a hardware issue’.
We’re thinking of getting him a King of Morocco. They’re still available, right? That or a huge pair of hands clad in diamonds doing the ‘thumbs up’ gesture. Yes. That’s what we’ll get him, unless any of you have got a better suggestion.
India have named their squad for the four Test tour of Australia. It’s not totally straightforward. We’ll talk about the bowlers separately, but batting-wise the big news is the return of Virender Sehwag.
We’ve read that India can’t pick Sehwag in the squad and not play him, which is technically bollocks, yet not without a grain or two of truth. Sehwag’s a big name.
If Sehwag does play – presumably opening with Wasim Jaffer – then the middle order would contain The Usuals as we’re going to call them on this one, solitary occasion. If Rahul, Sachin, Sourav and VVS all play – no first names needed here – then there’s no room for Yuvraj Singh, who only larruped a lightning-quick 169 in his last Test.
For his part, Virender Sehwag has been woefully out of form in every form of cricket since he was dropped.
This rather reads like we think the reselection of Virender Sehwag is a bad idea. Confusingly, we don’t. Virender Sehwag is brilliant. You don’t average 50 after 52 Tests without having an ounce of skill.
Some people think that Sehwag has been ‘found out’. This is true, but no more so than it was after about his third Test match. There’s not much to find out about Virender Sehwag. He likes to try and hit every ball for four. That’s pretty much his gameplan. That he succeeded for so long with such a pig-headedly flawed approach is proof of his talent.
He did get a bit fat though, although that’s not necessarily a bad thing – as previously explored at great length on this site.
Virender Sehwag proves his class by hitting 300 against South Africa
Virender Sehwag racks up 10th hundred in excess of 150