So Yuvraj Singh finally gets a Test match. It’s a fairly rare occurrence. Ridiculously rare.
He arrived at the crease with India 61-4 and proceeded to smear 28 fours and a six, finishing with 169 off 203 balls in a partnership with Sourav Ganguly that was worth 300. It was a point well made, even if Pakistan were reduced to three front-line bowlers for half the day after Shoaib Akhtar had found yet another way to be unfit – back pain, this time.
Remarkably for a man who’s played 195 one-day internationals and who’s averaged near-enough 50 in that form of the game in the last two years, this is only Yuvraj’s 20th Test match.
Have no fear though, there’s plenty of time left. He’s not 26 until Wednesday, making him younger than Australia’s ‘prodigy’, Michael Clarke.
He’s a full year away from thinking ‘a nice sit-down’ is an activity in its own right and two away from knowing the names of more than one type of plant. He probably doesn’t consider going out two nights running to be any hardship at all, the rapscallion.
Most reports of the third one-day international between India and Pakistan seem to have Yuvraj Singh down as the match-winner. In any report there has to be one guy who won the match, but that’s never the full story.
All eight Indian batsmen who came to the crease got into double figures and six Indian bowlers took a wicket, plus there were two run-outs. Having said that, Yuvraj top-scored for India with 77, took one of those wickets and was also responsible for one of those run-outs, so we suppose he had the largest impact.
India were doing precisely nothing when he came to the crease in the Twenty20 World Cup semi-final against Australia. They were 41-2 after eight overs. ‘It’s too hard’ they seemed to be saying. ‘We can’t lay bat on ball’.
‘What?’ said Yuvraj Singh, utterly perplexed by his team mates’ inability to time the ball with absolute perfection. ‘Just do this,’ he instructed and promptly hit 70 runs off 30 balls, scything five fours and as many sixes.
If we were Yuvraj Singh, we’d feel perfectly happy about pointing at ourself in the mirror and saying ‘you the man’ because we’d be well aware that we were the man and wouldn’t be at all shy about letting ourself know this fact.
Yuvraj Singh starts the over on 14. He ends it with 50.
Herschelle Gibbs managed six sixes in an over in the 50 over World Cup earlier in the year. His efforts were full-blooded across the line slogs. Yuvraj Singh’s were just timed. Just watch the delicate flick for the second one.
We mention it now because since Yuvraj arrived in Ireland back in June, his one-day international innings run as follows: 13, 49 not out, 61 not out, 38, 0, 49, 45, 71 and 72.
There are no hundreds because he bats in the middle order and hundreds aren’t common in those parts. What’s impressive is his consistency. Measured run-chase? Yuvraj is your man. Wild slog to post a ludicrous total? Yuvraj is your man.
He’d probably have a few more if Ganguly’s knees were up to non-sedate singles too.