An impact player has been dealt a kind of blow that has haunted many performers in Indian cricket.
Can he come back? Only Yuvraj Singh can answer that question. Or, should one say, only the team management and the national selectors can shed light on this development that could shake the confidence of a man who announced his arrival 17 years ago at Nairobi with a stunning assault on the famed Australian bowlers.
“Rested,” said National selection committee chairman M. S. K. Prasad in reference to Yuvraj’s omission from the one-day series against Sri Lanka . The term “rested” has often been used conveniently by the decision-makers when dealing with stalwarts. But it certainly hurts the affected player if he learns of his fate through the media and not from the chairman of selectors.
Yuvraj, it may be noted, marked his presence with a 150 against England at Cuttack in his second match of the comeback phase early this year. He won two Man-of-the-Match awards in the last 10 matches, more than any other team-mate.
At the ICC Champions Trophy in England last June, Yuvraj produced what skipper Virat Kohli described as a “game changing” knock against Pakistan. “Yuvi’s innings, I think, was the game-changing innings. I felt like a club batsman while playing alongside Yuvi, the way he was hitting the ball. He took all the pressure off me and played the way only he can,” Kohli said in praise of Yuvraj.
The graceful left-hander finds himself at a difficult crossroads. If age is to be held against Yuvraj, he is 35, and not as swift as he was known to be. But then he is not the oldest member of the team.
Left in the lurch
In Dinesh Karthik’s case, there has been no explanation from the selectors. The dashing stroke-maker from Tamil Nadu, who made clear his desire to be only considered as a batsman and not wicketkeeper-batsman, earned his slot following a fabulous domestic season.
Karthik’s comeback, after three years in exile, has lasted just two innings – 2 and 50 not out – against the West Indies last month. There is no talk of his future role.
True, the selectors have a tough choice. They have to accommodate K. L. Rahul, who has the backing of the team management. They have to find place for Manish Pandey, again backed by the team management. But it would help if players are told in clear terms that they have been dropped rather than use the ‘rested’ euphemism.
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