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Yuvraj's return to form good news for India

By Javagal Srinath
Tuesday, March 08, 2022

There was a lot of learning to be gleaned from the victory against Ireland on Sunday, and that should stand the Indian team in good stead as we approach the knockout stages. The sign of a truly mature and high-quality team lies in how it approaches any given task. India's batsmen showed a lot of commitment at the Chinnaswamy stadium on a surface where the ball was not coming on, and it wasn't easy to hit through the line.

Responsible approach

From the outside, it may not appear a very convincing victory, and it probably wasn't, but it was a very responsible win especially because the team showed that when it came to the crunch, it had individuals who would put their hand up and get the job done.

No one did that better than Yuvraj Singh. Yuvi is a high-impact player, and it's great from an Indian perspective to see that he has taken up the challenge. With him amongst the runs and being in a confident frame of mind, it makes the batting look that much stronger.

A mature Yuvi

This wasn't the Yuvi that has destroyed bowling attacks in the past. India had lost four wickets, there was a little bit of pressure, and the way he and Dhoni went about their job quietly and without fuss was, for me, the most impressive aspect of the Indian run-chase.

Sometimes, when you are playing some of the so-called lesser teams, it's easy to get carried away and start playing strokes without giving due regard to the conditions and the circumstances. That is a sign of arrogance and that usually pulls a team down. That's why India's approach pleased me a great deal. They played to the merits of the opposition, taking up the responsibility and crossing over.

Slow track nerves

Of course, Yuvi playing as well as he has been in the last two matches is perhaps the most encouraging outcome from the last two games. The lack of pace off the pitch seemed to bother batsmen from both teams. There are so many aspects involved in the preparation of a pitch that not even the best in the business can come up with the ideal track all the time.

There are issues such as watering and rolling, and even if you are coming back to play on the same surface where you have played before, there's no guarantee it will play the same way as it did the previous time, unlike playing on a fresh wicket where you are more or less in sync with what's going to happen. All said, I thought the groundsmen at the Chinnaswamy stadium have done a good job with the pitches in the three matches we have had so far.

Revert to 3 seamers

With Yuvi finding form with the ball too, I feel India should revert to playing three seamers, no matter how they believe the pitch will play. Ashish Nehra still not being fully fit is a bit of a worry and, clearly, the two-spinner formula is not working. With Harbhajan a certainty, Chawla will have to make way for Nehra. Zaheer and Munaf have been holding fort commendably both at the start of the innings and at the end, but the variations in the middle stages through the spinners and the slower bowlers will be crucial. Yuvi and Yusuf can do the fifth bowler's job, and Ashish can complement Zaheer and Munaf. All of India will be hoping Zaheer and Munaf stay fit.

HT Content & Syndication Services