Sunday September 24, 2023

Yuvraj struggles on as the magic wanes

May 23, 2018

NEW DELHI: Few things are more painful than watching an ageing athlete falter as they try to summon up the old magic and Yuvraj Singh’s fans have endured a shared agony over the course of this year’s Indian Premier League (IPL).

When India belatedly embraced Twenty20 cricket 12 years ago, Yuvraj’s rise to greatness in the limited-overs format appeared just a matter of time. After all, few could hit the cricket ball as cleanly and as far as the southpaw did. And although Kevin Pietersen once ridiculed him as a “pie-chucker”, Yuvraj’s brand of left-arm spin was more than handy. When not doing either, Yuvraj torched the turf in the point region with an infectious zeal, a rare quality in an Indian squad not then known for their agility. He was a key cog in India’s World Twenty20 triumph in South Africa in 2007 and was adjudged player-of-the-tournament in the team’s victorious 50-over World Cup triumph four years later. He was unable to replicate that form in the IPL, though, and his stints with Kings XI Punjab, Pune Warriors, Royal Challengers Bangalore, Sunrisers Hyderabad and Delhi Daredevils have been underwhelming. Back at the team where he started his IPL career, Yuvraj has endured a particularly torrid tournament this year - alternating between warming the bench and being shuffled around the batting order at Punjab.