As far as Yuvraj Singh’s Test career is concerned, the curtain seems to be well and truly on its way down.
The selectors have desisted from naming him in either the Rest of India squad for the Irani Cup match against Ranji winners Mumbai next week, or in the Board President’s XI or India ‘ A’ sides selected to play the practice games against Australia in Chennai ahead of the four- Test series that begins on February 22.
The signals were clear when, after three lacklustre Tests, Yuvraj was dropped in favour of Ravindra Jadeja’s all- round skills for the fourth Test against England in Nagpur.
And the Chandigarh lad didn’t do himself any favours in the subsequent T20 and ODI series against Pakistan and England, showing form in just two games out of a combined 12.
The Low Points:
- His worst series came against Australia. Against the Kangaroos he has played 4 Tests and scored 64 run at an average of 9.14.His highest score being 27.
- India won 18 and lost 10 out of the 40 Tests he has played. In the 10 matches he has scored only 567 runs at an average of 28.35 including 2 centuries.
- In Australia he played 2 Tests and scored only 17 runs at an average of 4.25 in 4 innings.
- His worst year was 2006. In that year he played 9 Tests and scored only 339 runs at an average of 28.25.
- Mohammad Sami and Muralitharan dismissed him 4 times each.
- Apart from Australia, Bangladesh, West Indies and Zimbabwe are the other three countries against whom he averages less than 19.
Against the arch- rivals from across the border, it was the pace of Umar Gul and Junaid Khan that stopped him from getting into any kind of flow, before England off- spinner James Tredwell made him his bunny in the five- match ODI series by getting him out on four successive occasions.
He did drag India to victory on one occasion – in the Ahmedabad T20 against Pakistan – with a knock of 72. But after that, his bat fell silent, and as a result, he seems to have slipped behind Jadeja, Suresh Raina, Manoj Tiwary, Rohit Sharma and Ajinkya Rahane as a Test contender.
Yuvraj’s record also tells a story. In more than nine years since his Test debut against New Zealand at his home ground, Mohali, he has played in just 40 matches, and a return of 1,900 runs at 33.92 can hardly be called top bracket.
And yet, Yuvraj has his supporters because of the sheer thrill and elegance his batting engenders, and cricket experts feel it is premature to call it the ‘ end of the road’ for him.
“I don’t think we can say that it is the end of the road. I think it is more a case of him being out of contention at present.
The main reason would be his lack of form. He hasn’t done much in the longer format and now needs to score heavily in the domestic circuit as well as the ODIs that he plays to earn a comeback into the Test squad,” former India opener Chetan Chauhan told MAIL TODAY. “ Fitness, I guess, is also an issue with him. I think he will need to work on that as well as it isn’t that easy when you are playing five days on the trot. Also, I think the Indian management is looking for separate individuals who will play the shorter formats and different individuals who will play in the longer format, something like what Australia has done.” Former India all- rounder Madan Lal, meanwhile, said it would come down to whether Yuvraj still had a desire to play Test cricket or not.
“I still think he is too good a player — just that he needs to work on his batting and ensure that he starts scoring in the longer format as well. It now depends on his desire of playing Test matches. It will be tough, but he has done it in the past,” Lal told MAIL TODAY .