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The return of old

Yuvraj and Dhoni show the younger players how it is done

By: |
January 21, 2017 12:54:42 am

Yuvraj Singh opening a shop. Raising awareness of cancer. Gathering funds for his organisation. These were the snapshots that stared at us in recent times — understandably so, from a cricketer looking at life beyond sport. And then, he rolls back the years and slam-bangs on a cricket field for India.

M.S. Dhoni promoting a movie based on his life. Resigning as captain. Opening gyms. In the last few times he turned out for India, it seemed his big-hitting skills were on the wane. Sushant Rajput, the actor who played him in the bio-pic, appeared to be reeling out the helicopter shots better than him. Again, the images from Dhoni’s flip book seemed predictable — with the clock winding down on his career, the only real question swirling around was whether he could find an honourable way to bid farewell. Instead, he muscles away at Cuttack, imposing himself against the English and making critics eat humble pie.

Yuvraj’s is the more inspirational and remarkable story of the two. Simply because Dhoni was still in circulation. Yuvraj, though, was in the midst of an improbable comeback but has managed to pull it off in style. His background adds more drama to the story: A battle with cancer, age and fitness. Now, he becomes only the second Indian after Sachin Tendulkar to score ODI hundreds after the age of 35, Dhoni joining him on that list. When in full flow, there aren’t many better batsmen to watch than Yuvraj in international cricket. The languid flow of the bat, the aesthetic arcs that it cuts, and the imperious timing inherent in his shots can leave one breathless with delight. Ditto for Dhoni. If the pair can continue like this, India’s headaches in the middle-order can be resolved, and this ODI team can turn into world-beaters.

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First published on: 21-01-2017 at 12:54:42 am
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