When a frail, hairless Yuvraj voiced his determination to return to international cricket in April last, he looked a far cry from the powerful batsman and sharp fielder that he once was
But he did the unthinkable by returning to the field in less than one year. On Wednesday, Yuvraj would be back at a place from where he started his career as a cricketer -- Mohali. He will don Indian colours in front of his home crowd for the first time since he was diagnosed with the disease.
The last time Yuvraj played at the PCA stadium was during the World Cup semifinal against Pakistan, on March 30, 2011. The World Cup brought out the best in him, his maturity helping him to do justice to his immense talent, playing a crucial role in India winning the trophy after 27 years. He capped it with the man of the series award.
After making his return to the Indian fold during the home T20s against New Zealand in September, Yuvraj has been a permanent fixture in the limited overs side. A double hundred in the Duleep Trophy earned him a place in the Test squad against England, though he was dropped for the fourth Test at Nagpur after a modest run.
But he was soon back for the T20s and ODIs against England and Pakistan, making an impression with the bat and ball on a few occasions.
In his second innings, Yuvraj carried himself with tranquility, unlike his extravagant earlier days. He looks every bit a man who is grateful and eager to give back. Coming to Mohali would be homecoming for Yuvraj, and there might be a massive welcome for him just like MS Dhoni received at Ranchi.
Kohli thought so. “He (Yuvraj) is always really glad to be here. Obviously, MS was very happy because it was the first game in Ranchi and we saw the kind of the stadium they had made there.
So, it was a proud moment for him and whenever Yuvi plays in this ground, he feels the crowd backs him totally. Everyone gets excited going into their home grounds and hopefully he can put up a great show in his hometown.”
Hopefully, the crowd will get to see their most favourite cricketer turning in a match-winning performance.
It will be a perfect reward for the crowd and Yuvraj himself!