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Yuvraj Singh is India’s Twenty20 weak link

Yuvraj Singh, MS Dhoni, India, World T20
In eight T20Is this year he hasn’t crossed 15. Yuvraj Singh is India’s biggest liability at the upcoming World T20.

Captain Mahendra Singh and the national selectors have earned plaudits for their recent inclusions of youngsters – particularly Hardik Pandya and Jasprit Bumrah – in the India Twenty20 squad ahead of the World T20. With this fool-proof plan of bedding youngsters in with experience, India are best posed to win the world title at home. But the plan has a startling flaw. And that flaw comes in the shape of India’s best limited overs player since Sachin Tendulkar.

In 2012, having fought and defeated a cancerous tumour in his left lung, Yuvraj Singh made a successful return to international cricket. When he smashed 72 of 36 balls in a Twenty20 match against Pakistan in 2012, it signalled the beginning of a sensational fairy tale.

Two years later in the World T20 final vs Sri Lanka, Yuvraj was set to play protagonist once again as he attempted a trilogy of World Cup heroics – 207 and 2011 his previous efforts. He came in to bat in the 11th over with India at 64 for two, with the stage set to push India to a competitive total. Alas, he struggled to 11 while wasting 21 balls, effectively ending the hopes of India becoming two-time T20 world champions.

It’s been almost two years since that fateful day and Yuvraj has not recovered his mojo. Against Pakistan in the Asia Cup, Yuvraj struggled despite chasing a two-digit target and facing just two deliveries from India’s tormentor-in-chief Mohammad Amir. He finished with 14 of 32 balls at an abysmal strike rate of 43, in an innings that included more misses than hits. In eight T20Is this year he hasn’t crossed 15. Yuvraj Singh is India’s biggest liability at the upcoming World T20.

An argument can be made that Yuvraj is not the only ‘over the hill’ player in India’s T20 squad. Harbhajan Singh and Ashish Nehra have been included as well. Nehra has shown that his 36 is just a number, with 11 wickets in eight T20Is this year and Harbhajan’s main role is to carry drinks and the victors over his shoulder. Yuvraj’s permanent place in the playing XI is a mystery with capable youngsters like Ajinkya Rahane, Manish Pandey and even Shreyas Iyer on the fringes.  Yuvraj’s tale is one that doesn’t look while it will end with cricket’s equivalent of ‘…happily ever after’.

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