If there were still any doubters of cancer-survivor Yuvraj Singh’s ability to survive the grueling four-Test series against England beginning November 15, the left-hander’s 59-run knock against a full-strength English side in the first warm-up tie at the Brabourne Stadium yesterday, should have shut them up.
Yuvraj’s 99-minute knock in the scorching 32 degree heat and that too without showing any signs of discomfort, would have impressed the national selectors at the venue yesterday.
Ex-India skipper and former chief selector Dilip Vengsarkar, who was at the match, believed that Yuvraj is ready for Test cricket again. “Of course, he is ready for Tests,” Vengsarkar told MiD DAY yesterday.
“The way he batted today, was a treat to watch. I don’t think we should still have any concerns regarding his fitness to play Test cricket.
He is in great form too,” he added.
India ‘A’ coach Lalchand Rajput said Yuvraj outclassed other batters on the day. “I think Yuvraj has done enough to be in the Test team. Today he outclassed all the other batsmen. He timed the ball very well. He seems to be in prime form,” he said.
Yuvraj and India ‘A’ skipper Suresh Raina are the two main contenders for the No 6 spot in the Indian Test team for the England Test series. And Yuvraj, who has played 37 Tests since his debut in the five-day game in 2003, further increased his chances of securing that berth with his sublime knock yesterday.
Yuvraj’s anxiousness to wield the willow was evident from the fact that he immediately rushed onto the field even before the third umpire announced his decision on Ajinkya Rahane.
Yuvraj was seen shadow practicing on the boundary line for a good six minutes — the time taken by the umpire to declare Rahane out — caught by Kevin Pietersen off Tim Bresnan.
Yuvraj made a comeback to international cricket in the two T20s against New Zealand in August after fighting a rare germ cell cancer.
Earlier this month, he scored a sensational 208 for North Zone in the Duleep Trophy semi-final.
An early scare
Yesterday, however Yuvraj survived a scare on the first ball he faced. Samit Patel nearly latched on to a tough chance at square leg. He then edged a Bresnan delivery but was lucky that it didn’t carry to the point fielder. However, a silken straight drive off Bresnan’s next over indicated he was getting into the zone. With each shot, Yuvraj started to look better.
Another straight drive, this time off spinner Graeme Swann, was a treat to watch. Yuvraj consciously tried to play as straight as possible and it paid dividends too, as he slammed seven fours and four sixes in his half-century. The entertaining knock finally came to an end when Matt Prior stumped him