When you say cricket is a religion in India, it’s inevitable that the players, or at least few privileged ones, go on to acquire divine status. So, when they begin to look mortal and are discarded, devotees are bound to feel aggrieved. Well, this came to the fore when former cricketer, Yograj Singh, better known as father of Yuvraj Singh, hit out against Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni for not including his son in the World Cup squad.
Yograj’s jibe came on a day when Yuvraj Singh was bought for a record Rs.16 crores by Delhi Daredevils in a low key IPL auction on 16 February, 2015. Well, no big deal considering he was bought for 14 cr last year by Royal Challengers Bangalore, but discarded because of his poor run. Good luck to Delhi this time.
Speaking to a national channel, an angry Yograj slammed Indian selectors, and in particularly, MS Dhoni for not picking his son for the World Cup. He didn’t mince words in saying that Dhoni was the one who told the selectors that he didn’t want Yuvraj.
Expectedly, the media was quick to pounce on the issue, leading the charge was a channel who’s editor-in-chief is still smirking from the fact that the Indian captain has never given him an interview. While this is an issue for the media to cash in, I’m taken aback by Yograj Singh’s allegation.
Firstly, Mr.Yograj, you need to be reminded that one of the Indian selectors anonymously quoted that they didn’t even consider the name of Yuvraj for selection and it was only the media who falsely created a hype around his probable selection.
While credit to Yuvraj that he scored three tons in Ranji Trophy then, but they were all scored against ordinary attacks.. Form and fitness determine selection. Sadly, Yuvraj SIngh was found wanting in these two departments from the time he made his comeback after recovering from cancer. I’m surprised that you criticised Dhoni because wasn’t it the skipper who called Yuvraj straight back into the side after he recovered from cancer. Upon returning, Yuvraj scored a scintillating 70 against Australia in a T2o game but then started a horrible slide.
In that period, Yuvraj Singh played 11 ODIs, scoring a paltry 118 runs, averaging 16, with a best of 55 against lowly West Indies. Break this down to matches against Australia. He scored just 19 runs in 6 ODIs, with a best of just 12. Those who watched Yuvraj play in that series, it was apparent that southpaw’s reflexes weren’t the same, as he looked all at sea against Mitchell Johnson & co. Now, he clearly was short of match practice, yet he was picked for the home series against West Indies. where it was now Sunil Narine who bamboozled him. He managed a lone 50 in those games.
It only got worse for Yuvraj, as he scored two first-ball ducks in the two games in South Africa, which eventually led to his sacking from the ODI team. He wasn’t selected for New Zealand tour and Asia Cup, where Dhoni didn’t play. Virat Kohli-led India failed to reach the finals losing to both Sri Lanka and Pakistan.
Dhoni returned for the subsequent T20 World Cup, and so too Yuvraj. Many questioned Yuvraj’s selection, but reportedly, it was Dhoni who requested the selectors to pick Yuvraj. Sadly, Yuvraj didn’t repay the skipper’s faith as he struggled in one game after another. More than the lack of runs, Yuvraj looked clueless against both pace and spin. His painstaking knock in the final cost India the World Cup. The selectors patience reached a dead end and after that there was no way back for Yuvraj.
Now looking back at this period, don’t you think it was only Dhoni who showed faith in Yuvraj? Didn’t Dhoni give Yuvraj ample chances to redeem himself? So, why blame Dhoni now for your son’s fall from grace. Dhoni didn’t captain Yuvraj at IPL 7, where he failed to get going again. Sir, how can you blame a man who all along backed your son? Rather than being thankful to Dhoni, you chose to blame him for you son’s lack of form.
It wasn’t a surprise that Yuvraj distanced himself from his father’s comments. Indian cricket is not about individuals, it’s about team. Sir, your comments are demoralizing for a team who is trying to defend a World Cup. You owe an apology not just to Dhoni, but to the true fans of India.