Have we seen the last of Yuvraj & Raina?
The World Cup is less than two years away and the cricketing boards around the world are doing all they can to put up the most competitive side that will bear their nation's hopes to clinch the most prestigious title. One of the most important factors in this task is to set the perfect combination, not only in choosing whether to play five bowlers or, four bowlers and an all-rounder, but also to strike the perfect balance between age, performance, and experience.
MS Dhoni, India's former captain, has highlighted in the past that the slow legs need to move fast or disappear altogether. Ravi Shastri, the current Indian coach, has also stressed the importance of having the best fielding side in the world.
But if the slow legs can bat or bowl better than the fast legs, do you give them an advantage? Or is fielding the entrance test to represent the national side?
What has held India back in the recent past?
India's main obstacle has been the inability to step up in pressure situations on the big stage, be it losing the final of the Champions Trophy 2017 or losing the semi final of the 2015 World Cup to Australia, and several other occasions in the past.
How do you tackle a situation like that? Do you bring in people who have an experience in dealing such situations, the likes of Yuvraj Singh and Suresh Raina or do you send the likes of Kedar Jadhav & Manish Pandey to try and play their natural game, in the process, devising a method of their own to steer India out of this predicament?
Is that a risk the nation would be willing to take or do they rest their hopes on capable shoulders who have proved their mettle in the past?
Experience over promise?
Yuvraj Singh's current form is a big concern although he has shown glimpses of his vintage vigour from time to time, since his return after the 2014 World T20 final. In the 2nd ODI vs England at Cuttack in 2016, Yuvraj along with MS Dhoni put up a 256 run partnership, while scoring his career best of 150 runs, enabling India to reach a mammoth total of 381, from a struggling position of 25-3.
His ability to step up in run chases made him a pioneering batsman in the middle order, which began with his famous knock of 69 in Natwest final, putting up a 121 run partnership on the board with his team-mate Mohammad Kaif who went on to take his side to victory, staying unbeaten on 87. Yuvraj's flamboyant technique, high backlift and mammoth sixes make him a world-class cricketer.
Suresh Raina, on the other hand, has been kept out of the blue colours for quite some time. His last ODI was against South Africa in late 2015 and has since struggled to make it back into the side. During his career, he has played a lot of small and quickfire innings, a very good option to have in the death overs.
However, he has also shown that he can arrive much earlier at the crease and can pace his innings according to the situation, and take his side home to victory, a trait that is well suited for an ODI batsman.
With a form-slump coming into play in the careers of these two players, India started to look for some promising talent in youngsters in order to fill the gap left behind. Players like Manish Pandey and Kedar Jadhav rose to the occasion and proved the selectors right.
Tha latter's match-winning century against England from a difficult situation, helped India chase a target of 351 runs.
\Whereas Pandey delighted us with his wonderful century knock of 104 against Australia in 2016 off just 81 balls and started to instil the belief that India can ride on his back when the top order fails.
Still, the big question remains - will India choose experience over talented new faces, or will it choose to take young soldiers on the march for the title of titles?
While Yuvraj missed the bus for the 2015 World Cup, Suresh Raina has been a part of both the 2011 and 2015 squads. So the experience in their resume is stronger than their younger counterparts. Should India go with experience or count on the young guns to blaze when the situation demands?
With fitness, form, and fielding being the parameters for selection, Yuvraj Singh & Suresh Raina's future in the Indian side hangs in the balance.