IPL 2018: Yuvraj Singh set to begin second innings with Kings XI Punjab
Will Virender Sehwag give Yuvraj Singh the freedom to play his natural game?
Yuvraj Singh is a prominent name in Indian cricket with two world cups to his name. He burst onto the international scene in 2000 after a successful run in domestic cricket. The left-hander had a wonderful career before his fate turned in 2012. The Indian all-rounder was in his prime before cancer came as a hurdle to bring his career to a halt. After a long battle with the disease, the all-rounder returned to international cricket in September 2012.
His career suffered a dull phase after cancer. He struggled to cement his place in the Indian side. He then went back to domestic cricket to make a mark. Following a successful domestic season, the Punjab batsman made a comeback to the national side. There was a point in his career when he wanted to help the side by taking coaching duties but Virat Kohli's belief kept him going. Recently, the 36-year-old was procured for INR 2 crores by the Kings XI Punjab in the IPL auction.
Yuvraj's value has deteriorated in the past few years but what has been the cause for this? Let us decode this with the help of some T20 statistics. Will the veteran come back to his original best in the upcoming edition of the Indian Premier League? Will the fans witness Yuvraj Singh's version 2.0 in the eleventh season of the league?
Yuvraj needs to re-invent himself
In the initial stages of his career, Yuvraj received constant backing from his side but the case hasn't been the same lately. Lack of backing from the team management might be an issue for him. The all-rounder was a free-flowing batsman before 2012. He trusted his shot making ability since he was a permanent member of the side but things have changed for him. In the last few years, his strike rate has decreased and his batting style has changed from aggressive to defensive.
This edition of the IPL can bring a change of fortune for the 36-year-old. The flamboyant batsman started his IPL career with his state-based franchise Kings XI Punjab. The head coach of the franchise Virender Sehwag always believed in the motto of "see the ball, hit the ball". Yuvraj will receive constant backing from the head coach which will help him to play freely and aggressively.
T20 cricket is often analysed in a different way. The top order batsmen have to maintain a good batting average whereas the middle and the lower order batsmen have to take care of their strike rate. He has mostly batted in the middle order in his career and his strike rate is something to look upon. In the first few seasons, the all-rounder lit the IPL up with his tremendous hitting. He was in decent touch in the 2008 season, his late flurry in the innings helped the Kings XI to excel in the league.
The 36-year-old was in reasonable touch in the first few editions of the tournament but the second phase of his IPL career seemed horrendous. His average and strike rate went down in the seasons after 2011.
He managed to score a few runs in 2014 but failed to impress thereafter. Another noticeable point in his IPL statistics is the number of boundaries he has managed to hit throughout the years. Till the 2015 edition of the tournament, the all-rounder had a staggering conversion rate in terms of boundary scoring. The number of sixes he hit was close to or more than the number of fours he hit.
In the 2017 season, He only managed to hit 30 boundaries and 8 sixes. The fear of getting dismissed has been building up in his mind and the fearless approach has gone for a never-ending walk. Yuvraj's numbers in T20 international cricket also look similar. Sehwag might just give him the freedom that he demands at this phase in his career.
India's middle-order batsman has batted at almost all positions in the IPL. The aggressive batsman has featured in 116 innings out of which 72 have come at his favourite number four position. He has an average of 23.94 with a strike rate of 129.49 at the number four position. The Kings XI Punjab have a fiery batting lineup with the likes of Chris Gayle, Aaron Finch, KL Rahul, Karun Nair and Yuvraj himself. It will be intriguing to see his role in the side.
The numbers tell a different story, The experienced campaigner has been phenomenal at the number five position with some staggering numbers. He has an average of 32.67 with a strike rate of 132.69 at this position. The all-rounder can work as a floater in Kings XI Punjab's batting order, he can be lethal as a number three batsman if a wicket falls early during the phase of the fielding restrictions.