Yuvraj blitz powers India 'A'

Left-hander strikes quickfire 123 to help hosts notch 77-run win over Windies 'A'

Yuvraj blitz powers India 'A'

Yuvraj Singh just doesn’t believe in giving up. He made that obvious truth clearer on Sunday while hammering a hundred and guiding India ‘A’ to a comfortable win over West Indies ‘A’ at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium.

Yuvraj’s power-packed 123 (89b, 8x4, 7x6) and Yusuf Pathan’s equally mighty unbeaten 70 (32b, 4x4, 6x6), carried India to 312 for four after the match was reduced to a 42-over-a-side affair due to early morning rain.

West Indies ‘A’ were never really in the picture but for a few isolated sparks like fifties from Narsingh Deonarine (57) and Ashley Nurse (57), ending up at 235 all out in 39.1 overs.

The significance of Yuvraj’s hundred was not in the fact that it helped India score a comfortable 77-run victory. It underlined his return as a force to reckon with. This Yuvraj is totally unrecognisable from the person we saw a few months back.

The fight against cancer – a successful one at that – had transformed him into a stocky figure with a few extra inches around his waist.

He was struggling with footwork and his stamina was at its lowest point. Even taking a single took a heavy toll on his stretched-to-the-limit body. But a shed-the-flab trip to Brive La Gaillarde, a non-descript French village, changed all that.

He lost all that extra flab and along with that process also might have come oodles of confidence — a fact evident in his first competitive outing since turning out for Pune Warriors in an IPL match against Delhi Daredevils in May.

A batsman making his comeback could be under pressure – external and self-inflicted. In the case of Yuvraj, a whole nation was watching with interest, adding that much extra burden on him.

But he never showed any of it. In fact, he was utterly calm, beginning the day with a serene single off Andre Russel. The first boundary didn’t come until the 40th ball he faced, as he allowed the young Mandeep Singh (67, 78b, 7x4, 1x6) to take the centre stage.

The two added an even 100 for the third wicket in 18.3 overs, the partnership also helping India ‘A’ to negate the early loss of openers Robin Uthappa and Unmukt Chand.

Once that boundary came, there was no stopping Yuvraj. It was like watching a vintage movie – archetypal pulls over mid-wicket and flowing drives through cover region flowed from his willow. The arrival of Yusuf at the other end only fanned Yuvraj’s aggressive instincts.

The duo added runs at a blistering pace for the fourth wicket – 125 in 9.1 overs at 13.63 to be precise. Yuvraj punished left-arm spinner Nikita Miller with a sequence of 6, 4, 6, 6 but the best shot of the match came after he crossed the hundred, with a six off Ronsford Beaton.

Leery of another big hit, Beaton opted for a yorker but Yuvraj dug that out over the bowler’s head for a six. There was almost no follow-through, just pure timing and sheer power that left the bowler scratching his head.

Yuvraj finally fell as his search for another six off part-time leggie Nkrumah Bonner ended in the hands of Beaton at long-on. He walked off amidst loud cheers from a good Sunday crowd, content, perhaps, in the knowledge that he has taken a massive first step towards his return to India team.

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