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India vs. England: Yuvraj Singh may open the innings at Lords

Yuvraj Singh: Time to come up with the goods

Yuvraj Singh: Time to come up with the goods

Yuvraj Singh might be urged by the Indian team management to open the innings at Lords against England. The circumstances have fallen perfectly into place for this to happen as Virender Sehwag will be unavailable for the first two Tests. The squad has a replacement in Abhinav Mukund but Yuvraj may be given the chance ahead of him given the experience he has. Yuvraj Singh was said to be competing for the no.7 spot in the Test side alongside Suresh Raina but that door was violently shut by Raina’s standout ton in the practice match against Somerset. Yuvraj Singh was dismissed in the match at 0.

The decision would put Yuvraj in a crucial position. The consequences will either be highly rewarding or highly detrimental. Yuvraj Singh is by nature an aggressive stroke-maker and even though players of this nature have proven themselves up the order, there is no guarantee of Yuvraj’s following their lead. The first Test to be played at Lords is likely to be India’s most testing one. India would be most vulnerable given the little time they have had to accommodate the conditions.

India struggled in the match against Somerset where a strong batting line-up was fielded. With the exception of VVS Laxman and MS Dhoni all the Indian batsman played the match with little success.  Suresh Raina’s ton was the only singular resistance shown. The challenge would certainly be of a greater degree when India face the likes of James Anderson, Chris Tremlett and Stuart Broad.

Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman have been India’s survivor specialists in such conditions and their role would be vital at Lords as well. Both the batsman were in superlative form in West Indies where uncanny pitches tested them. Dravid has a credible record in English conditions and many memorable knocks to his credit. VVS Laxman has already expressed his desire of making a century at Lords, “the Mecca of Cricket”.

The inclusion of Yuvraj Singh may have its fair share of possible side-effects but there is a clear strategy to it. Over the years Virender Sehwag has served this Indian side loyally by scattering the opposition with fiery stroke-play. His absence gives a psychological edge to England in many ways and that has been talked about in all media. The decision to employ Yuvraj Singh in that position is a definite counter-attack. Yuvraj is an expert dispatcher of the cricket ball and deals with fast bowlers ruthlessly. Moreover, he has no outstanding problem in dealing with bounce. He can pull and hook with delight. It remains to be seen if he figures in the starting XI but if he does, all eyes will be on the prodigy.

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