All the Yuvraj fans may shout out ‘I told you so’, but one has to admit this was out of the blue. That he was, definitely, going to be one of the most sought after names in the auction was pretty sure, but that he would create history by becoming the highest grossing IPL player of all time was not thought of by anyone. There are some factors that can explain why this happened.
This is certainly easier to explain than figuring out why Dinesh Karthik ended up with almost a similar amount or why there were no takers for Mahela Jayawardene.
RCB in need of a middle order batsman
There were many instances of their batting losing its way if, for some reason, the openers didn’t fire. This proved to be more of a problem when they were chasing a big total. Yuvraj fits the requirement perfectly. He can deliver the goods and has been one of the most able batsman at that position. True, he hasn’t been in the greatest form of his life of late and has been out of the national ODI squad, but someone like him should not take time to get into the groove.
What is more? His bowling can sometimes prove to be an asset for the team, as has been seen time and again. He can lift the team with some great all-round display, and he often compensates with the ball if his bat doesn’t fire. Having such a complete package of skills in a single player is great (the 2011 World Cup can be recollected here), and now it is up to him to justify his selection and the heavy price tag.
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The Royal Challengers were not the only franchise looking to grab the all-rounder. Even KKR were looking to get him badly, but they were denied by the Vijay Mallya-owned franchise, who were determined to go as far as needed. No wonder his price escalated, and starting from his base price of Rs 2 crores, he was finally bought for Rs 14 crores. This shows what can happen if there are two parties pretty determined to take a player. Probably they guessed he would be very hungry to perform and prove a point in this IPL. Something similar probably happened in the case of Kevin Pietersen, who also fetched a booty of 9 crore.
He certainly is a franchise magnet. When the Pune Warriors came into existence, he was given the charge of the side, and immense faith was put in him by the Subrata Roy led franchise. Now that the team has become defunct, the interest in him soared up.
He has been a great T20 player, and there are no second opinions about that. He has 2750 runs from 116 innings at an average of 27.22 and a strike rate of 135.46, with 15 scores of over 50. As far as playing for India is concerned, those numbers are even better with the average jumping to 33.38 and the strike rate to 153.08, which is a testimony to his awesomeness. To add to all these, he has 63 wickets at an average of 20.28 and an economy just below 7, which is certainly not bad for a bowler in this format.
His memorable performances include the 6 sixes off the bowling of Stuart Broad and 70 off 30 balls against Australia, both of which won games for India in the inaugural T20 World Cup 2007, among many others.
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People usually end up paying for a name that sounds more familiar. Something similar has happened here, as he is not in the best form of his life and there are many names who are currently doing better than him. He may have been favoured due to his name and the image that he carries. Mention him and everyone goes back to remembering the World Cup triumph of 2011 or the 6 sixes he hit against England. Thus, you expect a name like him to carry a high price tag, which is exactly what has happened.
It would be surprising to many had he gone for a low price, simply because it just doesn’t fit with his name. Somebody like Muralitharan who was bought for just 1 vrore may not have done justice to his brand value, and one can easily recognise that his present form was given more consideration over his name.
Something completely different happened in Yuvi’s case, and he will only be too happy. But now that the ball is in his court, he has to prove his worth. It can also help him make his way back to the national side. If he does well, it will be viewed naturally, at least by his die-hard fans. “It is Yuvraj, after all. He can’t help being awesome,” they will say. On the other hand, if he fails, it will be said that he wasn’t able to find his form. The brand may take a beating in that case.
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His PresenceHis presence does affect the team spirit. His body language is such that the whole team is uplifted. The fighter attitude that emanates from him is very inspiring. You will never see him agitated or tired on the cricket field. He is charged up and rearing to go most of the time. And that is what rubs off on the rest of the team, as well. This happened at least when he was the captain, whether it was with the Kings XI Punjab or the Pune Warriors.
Add to that the marvellous fielding efforts he produces to take impossible catches or produce unlikely run-outs. His presence adds the venom to any batting line-up. You see his name in a team, and you can be certain that he will make life difficult for you. Among his best fielding efforts in the IPL was the last ball run out against the Mumbai Indians to dismiss their no. 10 batsman, which resulted in Punjab winning the game by 1 run to complete a thrilling contest. Such heroics on the field is what makes him desirable to have in one’s team, and all this is probably what Virat Kohli had in mind when he expressed the desire to have him play for the RCB.
RCB already has players who portray a very positive body language (people like de Villiers and Kohli) and are a decent fielding side. Having Yuvraj in their ranks will only improve their presence on the field as a side. They also have new overseas faces in Mitchell Starc and Albie Morkel, both of whom will surely contribute in this regard.
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