Instead, Yuvraj Singh had to wait for 18 days since the stadium hosted its first big game to enter the ground, as the left-hander is still recovering from cancer, and his subsequent chemotherapy in the United States. The Man of the Series of India’s World Cup-winning campaign finally made an appearance here yesterday, around an hour before the scheduled start of Pune’s match against the Deccan Chargers. Yuvi met the members of the team that he led in the last year’s IPL near the dug-out, then joined the team huddle before the warm up, and even gave them a pep-talk, standing next to mental conditioning coach Paddy Upton.
Yuvraj, sporting the team jersey, then moved on to watch the net session, clapped as Ashish Nehra hit the stumps and then picked up a bat. Standing on the pitch next to the one where Pune were practising, Yuvraj faced mild throw downs from 10 yards as he tried to get a feel of the ball. After about 10 deliveries, he went into punching mode. Though the the timing occasionally was missing, the elegance was spot-on. Yuvraj then got a hug from most of his teammates, Sunil Gavaskar, who was near the pitch ahead of the toss, and Deccan Chargers’ skipper Kumar Sangakkara, before leaving the field.
The biggest cheers of the day were reserved for the man from Chandigarh as he slowly walked of the field. Pune’s fans would certainly hope that the next time Yuvraj walked onto at a cricket field, he’d be wearing the full team gear and instead of waving at them, would be smashing some big sixes into the stands.