Yuvraj Singh: Visceral, brutal, yet beautiful

Yuvraj Singh was a natural riding on his skill, his batting an expression of his inner self.

Yuvraj Singh celebrates deliriously after hitting the winning runs for India against Australia in the 2011 World Cup quarterfinal.   -  AFP

Yuvraj Singh’s batting was an expression of his inner self. It was visceral, brutal yet beautiful.

The power was accompanied by the lazy elegance of a left-hander. And when he hit the ball straight, he often did so in a manner that was classical with a high front elbow.

Importantly, he had the `time’ to play the ball. The trick lay in Yuvraj picking the length early and resultantly making subtle adjustment in his footwork and getting into the right position.

His response to a delivery was spontaneous. Yuvraj was a natural riding on his skill and two of this three Test hundreds, in Pakistan at Lahore and Karachi, were made in testing conditions when the ball seamed and bounced.

Read: When Yuvraj let Niall O'Brien choose a bat from his kit

During times when he was out of form, his footwork was a mess. Yuvraj was a confidence player.

And Yuvraj was full of belief during the ICC 2011 World Cup. The southpaw was in full flight, the bat coming down straight from the high back-lift as he met the ball with the sweet portion of his willow.

Yuvraj was a lovely timer of the ball who could ease the ball through the gaps. On view was grace and flow.

In the early phase of his career, he was a destructive puller. Later, there were periods when he  struggled against the short ball from the quicks due to an indecisiveness on his part whether to pull, or duck or sway away.

For most part of his journey, Yuvraj remained strong off his back foot; his back-footed cover and square-drives and punches scorched the turf.

And he played with passion. Yuvraj’s roar as he sank on his knees on the pitch and celebrated the World Cup 2011 quarter-final conquest of Australia at Motera after an explosive unbeaten 57 encapsulated his desire.

His effort in India’s triumphant campaign was heroic; all through the competition he was battling cancer. It was a tournament where his under-rated left-arm spin came to the fore.

This game-changer’s cricket transcended numbers. A lot of it was about heart and a spirit that took flight in the field of dreams.

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