Yuvraj Singh, who debuted for India in 2000, has proven himself victorious by continuing to perform well in limited overs format over the years. He was the big reason for winning the title of India’s 2007 World T20 and 2011 World Cup. After the 2011 World Cup, Yuvraj fought the biggest fight of his career. He beat the cancer and then returned to the ground.
Yuvraj remained in and out of the team and whenever he got an opportunity in the Indian team, he was struggling to perform. Yuvraj also got an opportunity to play in the beginning of this year and played a wonderful innings of 150 against England and made his place in the team for the Champions Trophy. In the ICC event, UV made a match-winning half-century against Pakistan before struggling to get going against Sri Lanka and Pakistan in the final.
His batting powers have diminished and he hardly rolls his arms over. Adding to this, he has been poor on the field, something you generally didn’t associate with Yuvraj in the past. To be fair, he is 35 years old at the moment and one cannot expect him to throw himself on the field. It is safe to say that the age-factor has caught up with his batting as well.
In spite of all these, should the team management persist with him given that the 2019 World Cup is just two years away? If they think Yuvraj can be around till then, I am sceptical of India’s chances in the show piece cricket event. It is high time (even if he does well in West Indies) that the selectors, along with the team management, take a bold call and look beyond one of India’s most successful players in the format.
Let us take a look at five cricketers who can replace Yuvraj in the Indian middle order.
Suresh Raina was a vital member of the Indian team since making a comeback in 2008, but, the same cannot be said of his journey with the Indian team in the last two years. After the 2015 World Cup, Raina’s form dipped before he was eventually dropped after India’s series against South Africa later that year.
Since then, he was considered as a T20 specialist and has represented the nation in numerous T20Is. Raina might have been out of form and struggled against rising deliveries, something that was exposed by bowlers around the world and has been playing in his mind whenever he walked out to bat, he is still a safer bet than Yuvraj in all three departments.
Dinesh Karthik, Score heavily in the Indian domestic circuit, get picked in the Indian team, show a lot of promise, fail in the national colours, get dropped, repeat. This is the curious case of Dinesh Karthik for the last one decade. In spite of getting an extended run with the Indian team, Karthik has failed to cement his place in the playing XI.Once again, he has done well in the Indian domestic circuit and was given a national call-up ahead of the Champions Trophy. This time, he didn’t get a chance to play in the tournament and is unlikely to play in the series against West Indies.
Manish Pandey has been a part of the Indian ODI set-up for a while and proved his worth when he scored a match-winning century in the fifth ODI against Australia in 2016. The Karnataka batsman showed a lot of promise in the format as India were looking for someone who can do the job at number 4 or 5.
KL Rahul had a successful Test series against Australia when he injured his shoulder during the first Test in Pune and played the remainder of the series in spite of the injury. Just before the start of IPL, he decided to go under the knife and get fully fit before the ICC Champions Trophy. Unfortunately, his recovery took more time and he was forced to miss the Cup and the subsequent series in West Indies. Rishabh pant might also get a chance to replace yuvi in 2019 world cup.