Mumbai: The Indian selectors seem to be far-sighted. Agreed. But one man could not have made a difference in their 2019 plan (if they are also looking at four years from now). Yuvraj Singh – despite scoring three back-to-back hundreds in the Ranji Trophy – fell off the radar and remained ignored for ICC World Cup 2015. It throws an open question as to how will a cricketer prove himself more?
The World Cup is about to kickstart in a month and the 33-year-old looked fit, in good touch, hitting the bowlers out of the park with same old elegance. Being a big match player (considering his performances in ICC World Cup 2003, T20 World Cup 2007 and the ICC World Cup in 2011), his inclusion could have added experience to the otherwise young team who have no clue about the conditions in Australia and New Zealand.
So why was Yuvraj not selected?
It could be because he did not do anything remarkable after his return to international cricket post cancer. Impressions on important games leave a mark on selectors’ mind too. For example, his struggle against Sri Lankan bowlers in the World T20 final in 2014 (11 off 21 balls).
He last played an ODI in 2013 against South Africa at Centurion. He did not get to bat as the match was washed out. In the first ODI at Johannesburg in the same series, Ryan McLaren ran through his defense and he was dismissed for a duck.
Since then, the selectors’ thinktank had been refusing to accept Yuvraj in the younger lot. He does not have a big score in international cricket to defend himself. One may say he proved himself in the domestic circuit but he may have left it too late.
What could the stylish left-hander bring to the team had he been selected? Captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni would have had another senior cricketer to turn to when needed for advice and he has been consistent in major tournaments. When you expect him to rise to the occasion, he won’t, but when in times of trouble in an alien land – his bat does the talking. Not to forget, his vicious slow left arm spin got him 111 wickets in ODIs too.