20 February 2008

We've seen this before

When Sehwag was dropped from a squad that included underperforming Yuvraj - who had the blind faith of his captain, it was enough to set the tongues wagging. What these morons did not realize was that it was not a fair comparison. Sehwag is a top order batsman now, and as such, has to outperform one of Gautam Gambhir and Sachin Tendulkar. To replace Yuvraj Singh, Suresh Raina and Manoj Tiwary are the candidates. And these people have not been good enough to repace one of the best ODI batsmen of 2006-07.

I hope that he continues to score big in the few opportunities that remain in Australia. But I also hope that will not be a reason for the selectors to pick him for the Test squad - stunting his education again. We have seen him dazzle us before, and we have patiently continued to expect the very best. Soulberry says it best:

This is why I would keep Yuvraj for the ODIs for at least two-three years from here despite his periodic blackouts. Test matches are a different game. What I'd work on, as regards Yuvraj , is try and help him maintain concentration and confidence (not bravado) over longer intervals of time.

Consider this:

North Zone are 230/5, trailing West Zone by 44 runs, at lunch on the second day of the Duleep Trophy final. The new ball is due soon. These are circumstances which he should experience in the Indian Test team in future. And a Yuvraj Singh in top nick is exactly the sort of batsman, one would want at the crease to push for a huge lead.

So please, let him have an opportunity to push that first class average closer to fifty. Surely, for a man of his abundant gift, that should not take too long.

1 comment:

Pervy said...

I think the comment on yuvraj not being fit for test cricket is a little unfair.

My comment in defence of Yuvraj assumes that he does not bat like he did in Melbourne and Sydney. Those innings were just not up to the mark. But assuming Yuvraj is a better test player than we saw in Australia (and he is), I think a batsman like Yuvraj brings something to a side that a Rahul Dravid (The Great) cannot - the ability to counter-attack. Yuvraj yesterday played a glorious innings - not because of the kind of shots he played (which were terrific mind you), but because of the impact it had on the game. At 20-30 odd for 3 chasing a modest total of 230, it is very easy to come in and try and save your wicket, absorb the pressure, and then accelerate later. The only problem is, when the time for the third stage comes, the batsman who has absorbed the pressure more often than not fails to accelerate and the team is left in a situation worse than what he came in. A counter-attacking innings, on the other hand, not only stems the rot, but also makes the asking rate easier or at least renders it constant.

How does this counter-attacking ability translate into a test scenario, where the asking rate is hardly ever in the equation? The only real life scenario that comes to my mind is the Yuvraj 160 odd against Pakistan. An innings like that changes the complexion of a game, turns the pressure equation on its head. Have we ever in rahul Dravid's great test career seen an innings like that? I am not for a minute here saying Yuvraj Singh should replace Rahul dravid in the test side. What Dravid does is very important for us and he has done great things in the past. But still, there are things he cannot do that yuvraj can.

That is why, when we judge Yuvraj's suitability for a test match, the touchstone should not be a Rahul Dravid. The touch stone should be the contribution he can make to a winning total. After all, even in a test match, just like in ODIs or T20s, the only aim for batting is to post a good enough total or to chase a target down. This good enough total is a team contribution, a team that consists of different individuals with different styles. And Yuvraj certainly has an ability to change a match in a way that noone else does.

But right now he does not have a good enough technique or the temperament for test cricket because he has failed miserably in the test series. Well so has Rahul Dravid, but then dravid has those statistics to back his claim. There are many who have changed the traditional notions in which test cricket is understood - players like Sehwag who have refused to let opening be about taking the shine off the new ball, and despite the initial comments about his unsuitability for test cricket, he remains the only Indian batsman to have scored a triple century. Funny no, in a country that has produced Sunil gavaskar, sachin tendulkar and rahul dravid!

well maybe test cricket is not just about playing for longer, about saving your wicket at all costs, about having the perfect defence. In a team which has five other batsmen who can presumably do that, maybe there is space for one who can walk in and turn a game on its head once in a while.