Yuvraj Singh a better replacement for Ravindra Jadeja than Stuart Binny
Yuvraj Singh: A palpable missing link?
It is the 6th of January 2015, and India will today announce their 15 member squad for the World Cup. Many players will be waiting with bated breath hoping that the selectors will consider their performance over the course of time, enough to grant them a place in the list of 15.
Ravindra Jadeja though will be racing against time in order to get fit for the biggest stage. Jadeja no doubt is an important player who not only is a good fielder, but a decent limited overs specialist bowler too. He can also score some quick runs down the order which in turn gives those 20-30 extra runs to the team which later acts as a cushion for our not so penetrative bowlers who, if unable to take those 10 wickets, are at least able to choke the flow of runs. He is also a trusted ‘second fiddle’, who many a times with a top batsman has helped India in achieving victory – whether in the cause of posting a decent total or chasing a target.
His absence will be a blow to the Indian team, as well as personally to Jadeja who has been looking to be a part of a World Cup squad for the first time. Having said that, his absence also opens doors for a few other players who have a somewhat similar role to play as Jadeja.
Akshar Patel has done well in the nine matches he has played, but there is a certain Yuvraj Singh, who despite not being in the 30-man probables squad, has emerged as a very strong contender to make it to the last 15.
Yuvraj exclusion a mistake
Yuvraj’s performances in both the World T20 held in Bangladesh last year and the IPL was unsatisfactory, and as expected he has fallen down the pecking order.
Yuvraj since then has made a very strong claim for his inclusion into the team though. He has not only scored three centuries and one-half century, but has also been a revelation with the ball. His most notable performance was against Saurashtra where he picked three wickets giving away only forty-seven runs on a pitch which had absolutely nothing for the bowlers.
One thing which would certainly tilt the dice in the favor of Yuvraj is the fact that he still has another 3-4 years of cricket left in him. He is only 32 and still a very good fielder. If we have a look at the squad, then barring MS Dhoni, Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Ishant Sharma, Suresh Raina and R Ashwin there is no other player who has previously played in Australia. Hence, Yuvraj’s inclusion in the team becomes even more necessary since he can bring a lot to the table and also be the fifth bowling option for Dhoni.
There is certainly a lot of difference between batting in a T20 and an ODI match. It is imperative that the selectors don't consider his performances in the shortest format as a yardstick for his inclusion, but rather regard his current showing in the ongoing Ranji Trophy.
Yuvraj Singh would probably get enough practice against lesser teams including the warm-up match India will play against Australia. The 33-year-old, once set, is a dangerous customer and can finish the game of his own irrespective of the opposition he is facing, conditions and the pitch. He has also previously played in three World Cups and been a part of the 2011 winning squad, hence he very much knows how to get going with the huge responsibility at hand.
The man who has been one of the most premier finishers the country has produced, he certainly deserves one more chance based on his current performance in an event which may well would be his last swansong on the biggest stage.
Binny the Scott Styris of India
Ravindra Jadeja’s injury also means that Stuart Binny is another hopeful who can make the cut. Binny, who was included in the 30-man squad, is an all-rounder who made news after he took six wickets for four runs against Bangladesh in an ODI last year.
Stuart Binny can be considered more like the Scott Styris of India, who with his gentle medium pacer, can turn out to be a handy bowler in Australia and especially in New Zealand where the ball tends to seam a lot and would certainly assist his kind of bowling. Binny is also a decent batsman down the order and can score some runs down the order and can be considered as an bowling all-rounder who can bowl medium pace.
The only thing which could stop his inclusion into the team can be his inexperience. He has merely played six matches and an average of 13 as a batsman may not be very impressive but his 9 wickets at an average of 4.5 may show that the lad has loads of potential. However, he is still not as experienced as to represent India on the biggest stage. His performance against Bangladesh and Sri Lanka more recently suggests that he will only get better.
Stuart Binny in the end is not like his father Roger Binny. His lack of pace which can be an asset can also become a problem since teams like South Africa and Australia would certainly have a go at him due to his lack of pace and Binny is a kind of bowler who relies on his swing and seam more than anything to get his wickets and the conditions in Australia is such that he may not get his deliveries to swing that much and hence could become predictable.
Yuvraj trumps Binny on basis of ‘character’
In the end if there is someone who can be an apt replacement for Ravindra Jadeja then it can only be Yuvraj Singh. If we have a look at the history of Yuvraj the he was in a similar situation back in 2011 when fingers were raised about his form and he was even dropped. Yuvraj being a strong character, showed his class with a string of performances and got selected for the 2011 World Cup and rest they say is history.
Yuvraj is in a similar situation now – probably even worse – but being the strongest kind of character on offer, Yuvraj has certainly forced the selectors to have a long look at him again. Who knows if Yuvraj may get lucky and repeat the heroics of 2011 and silence all those people who have questioned his abilities.
Will Yuvraj be second time lucky? Well, we wont have to wait that much.