Duleep Trophy, semi-finals, 2nd day October 15, 2012

'Yuvraj has proved a lot of critics wrong'

28

Yuvraj Singh has answered questions over his fitness with a double-century against Central Zone in his first first-class match since recovering from cancer, according to two men who watched the innings closely. Shikhar Dhawan, Yuvraj's North Zone captain, said no one could play such a long knock without being fit. Ajay Mehra, the former first-class cricketer who is working as a commentator on the game in Hyderabad, said Yuvraj had proved a lot of critics wrong with his performance. His former India team-mate and opposition captain, Mohammad Kaif, said Yuvraj had displayed impeccable timing through most of the innings*.

Yuvraj's innings lasted over five-and-a-half hours and he took the field after lunch on the second day during Central Zone's innings, standing in the slip cordon for most of the day. Dhawan, who made 121 and batted for over 20 overs with Yuvraj during their third-wicket partnership, praised his senior partner's mental strength.

"I felt really good for Yuvi paaji," Dhawan told ESPNcricinfo. "He is such a motivation for all youngsters. It was a classy innings. I loved seeing him from the other end. The way he came in and started batting, I [laughing] told him he had almost finished the game. He is a very strong man mentally.

"If someone is scoring a double-century, he has to be fit. He was running very fast during the innings. We ran several quick singles and threes."

Yuvraj was selected for the recently concluded World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka without having played any competitive match since November 2011, though he trained at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bangalore. He showed signs of rustiness in Sri Lanka and he looked tired after running twos and sharp singles, leading former players to question the timing of his comeback.

Dhawan, who also trained at the NCA when Yuvraj did, spoke about the effort he had put into his preparation at that time. "I trained with him in the NCA as well before he went to Sri Lanka for the World Twenty20. Even then, he was sprinting hard with high intensity. Of course, it takes time for things to get together for one in a match."

Mehra said Yuvraj had the option of taking some more time off the field but it was good to see that he had chosen to turn out for North Zone in the Duleep Trophy. "It was a test for him," Mehra said. "He was playing the longer format for the first time since recovering from cancer and he has proved a lot of critics wrong. He could have easily opted out of the Duleep Trophy. He could have said that he wanted some time to get fitter. What was good to see was the way he slogged it out in the middle. He looked very determined and focused. It was pleasing to see the way he applied himself.

"There is nothing like match practice. The more he plays, the more he will improve. He has worked hard on his fitness and is looking much better than he did during the World Twenty20."

Kaif, while also expressing disappointment at the runs coming against his team, praised Yuvraj's "impressive" showing. "The hallmark of this particular innings in Hyderabad was his timing - one of his strengths over the years. When he times the ball well he becomes a completely different batsman and that is what he did during his long stay at the wicket over the first two days of the [match]," Kaif said in the Indian Express. "What was as impressive as the number of runs Yuvraj scored was the fact that he was able to bat over five hours across two days and he must be very pleased with his level of fitness, which is key when you play the longer versions of the game.

Though he scored a large number of runs in boundaries on way to his double hundred he also showed that he could sprint between the wickets. At different points in the game he did steal quick singles."

*05:53 GMT, October 16: This story has been updated with the Mohammad Kaif quotes

Abhishek Purohit is an editorial assistant at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Rumy1 on October 18, 2012, 10:26 GMT

    No matter what, I would never get Yuvraj play Test matches so soon after getting back to sport. I would give him ayear to recover fully. Yes he surely deserves to be in ODI and Tests but not in Tests for now. Instead, I would get Md.Kaif in for Tests and make him the captain as well. I would let Dhoni go out of Tests and concentrate on ODIs and T20s. Md.Kaif yet again, clearly, laid the foundation for Central's win in semi-finals yesterday. I think he is the fittest cricketr around and he has consistently been performing in domestic tournaments over the last two-three years. He deserves anoter chance to resurrect his career. And I am sure he will prove to be a great Test captain. Look at what he did to UP in Ranji. Two Ranji championships and three Ranji finals in last four years for an average team and without too many international stars. Give him a chance, it won't hurt. If they can give Raina another chance in Tests why not to Kaif. Hope Rajinder Hans and Sandeep Patil are listenin

  • Nampally on October 17, 2012, 19:12 GMT

    It is not easy to return to full fitness overnight after such a serious illness.It is always a good idea for Yuvraj to work his way up to 100% fitness gradually. He is coming off a life threatening illness. Also Cancer is not a disease that can be beaten totally, yet. So Yuvraj must also have his medical checkups, blood test going in parallel to ensure there is no relapse. It is for hiw own safety. By this double century lasting over 5.5 hours he has proven that he is almost 100% in his fitness. He was not at that stage when he played WC T 20. This is a good news. It will at least ensure that the Selectors can consider him for the Test matches Vs. England. India definitely needs new opening pair as Gambhir & Sehwag are not performing.S.Dhawan & Vijay/Mukund/Chand are the alternate options.Kohli & Pujara are the likely to be the next 2 in tha batting line up. There are question marks against Sehwag & Tendulkar in their form & finess. The Selectors may prefer Yuvraj & Raina instead.

  • Raj12345 on October 17, 2012, 14:40 GMT

    This 2 hundred is confusion and not going to add any value our test cricket.

    I was expecting people starts talking about Yuvi test career again by seeing this double hundred. Guys please stop this, don't spoil Indian test cricket. There are people like Rahane, Tiwary, Muund & Vijay done lot of 2 hundreds and waiting for place. Yuvi is already 30s like Badri, so ignore this one 2 hundred and we should move ahead with younger players. We found great Kohli because of scarifying Laxman, we have to do same. But still Dhoni in test captain, we can't do experiment with younger players and Raina will be there permanently and that happens no matter how many 0-8 test away results and how many raina failures.

  • on October 17, 2012, 11:44 GMT

    Don know why it happens often, that Yuvi scores in Hyderabad, and more often it goes vain in a losing cause..

  • stormy16 on October 17, 2012, 7:47 GMT

    I dont follow domestic cricket but the headline caught my attention. Only Yuvi can do something like this much like the incredible things he does on the field with bat, ball and fielding. It will be one of the great dissappoinments if this guy doesnt make a test name for himself.

  • on October 17, 2012, 3:12 GMT

    Both Yuvi & Kaif should play tests for India

  • cricketfannik on October 16, 2012, 22:50 GMT

    Yuvraj shuld be in Test squad atleast for Raina who played horrible shot and also some1 mentioned above that we should 3 sepeate teams. look 2 dhoni he hasnt played well in Test matches outside india failed misearably also look at indian batitng in Test matches Gambhir , sehwag failing badly. Sachin is in poor form but he will come back against england but seriously we need to think how much a player can take. dhoni is strugling he needs rest. his strike rate and stroke play has come down big time he has gone slow now. needs to take rest from this stupid CL20 who cares man so much T 20 is destroying everything

  • TSJ07 on October 16, 2012, 15:46 GMT

    From Yuvi's greatest fans...well done Yuvi...keep on working hard like this and surely someone will use his brain to select you instead of miserable Raina (in tests) at no.5.I still think you are one of most talented and mentally strong person to bat at no.5,6 or 7.If someone dont agree he should check his past record.All his top scores in tests came when India was 4-5 down for 50-80 odd runs at board.

  • Big3BOSS on October 16, 2012, 15:20 GMT

    I do not care if he is fit as Yohan blake . If India needs to be force in world cricket there should be seperate T20 , ODI and test team with different set of players ensuring there is no heavy workload on one player thus affecting performance. A prime example is Dhoni - the workload has taken its toll on him. Yuvraj , Raina, Kohli , Dhoni should be allowed to play only T20 and ODI because in tests their skills are not up to the mark. On other hand Gambhir, Pujara, Rohit , Rahane, Tiwary should only playing tests only. Players like Yusuf pathan, Uttapa , Saurabh Tiwary should play only T20. This will solve issue of player fatigue as well as adapting to different formats. Once a player knows he has to concentrate on one format only , he can work towards developing skills for that format only. This switching from T20 mode to ODI mode to Test mode and vice versa has destroyed techniques of players like Rohit Sharma (test material only) and will spoil techniques of other players aswel

  • on October 16, 2012, 15:14 GMT

    @rajeshj. By the way, the next two major test series will be played in India ! Not in England. Not in Australia. If at all selectors want to try Yuvi out in the longer version once again, these are the best opportunities. And many of the youngsters who are knocking on the doors also look up to him. In case the great Sachin retires, Yuvi can perfectly play that vital 'senor brother' role to those young ones who may get chosen. (Incidentally, currently we have only TWO reasonably reliable batsmen -- Kohli & Raina! All the others are suffering from suspect form). Class, form & fitness are more important than history, in choosing players.

  • Rumy1 on October 18, 2012, 10:26 GMT

    No matter what, I would never get Yuvraj play Test matches so soon after getting back to sport. I would give him ayear to recover fully. Yes he surely deserves to be in ODI and Tests but not in Tests for now. Instead, I would get Md.Kaif in for Tests and make him the captain as well. I would let Dhoni go out of Tests and concentrate on ODIs and T20s. Md.Kaif yet again, clearly, laid the foundation for Central's win in semi-finals yesterday. I think he is the fittest cricketr around and he has consistently been performing in domestic tournaments over the last two-three years. He deserves anoter chance to resurrect his career. And I am sure he will prove to be a great Test captain. Look at what he did to UP in Ranji. Two Ranji championships and three Ranji finals in last four years for an average team and without too many international stars. Give him a chance, it won't hurt. If they can give Raina another chance in Tests why not to Kaif. Hope Rajinder Hans and Sandeep Patil are listenin

  • Nampally on October 17, 2012, 19:12 GMT

    It is not easy to return to full fitness overnight after such a serious illness.It is always a good idea for Yuvraj to work his way up to 100% fitness gradually. He is coming off a life threatening illness. Also Cancer is not a disease that can be beaten totally, yet. So Yuvraj must also have his medical checkups, blood test going in parallel to ensure there is no relapse. It is for hiw own safety. By this double century lasting over 5.5 hours he has proven that he is almost 100% in his fitness. He was not at that stage when he played WC T 20. This is a good news. It will at least ensure that the Selectors can consider him for the Test matches Vs. England. India definitely needs new opening pair as Gambhir & Sehwag are not performing.S.Dhawan & Vijay/Mukund/Chand are the alternate options.Kohli & Pujara are the likely to be the next 2 in tha batting line up. There are question marks against Sehwag & Tendulkar in their form & finess. The Selectors may prefer Yuvraj & Raina instead.

  • Raj12345 on October 17, 2012, 14:40 GMT

    This 2 hundred is confusion and not going to add any value our test cricket.

    I was expecting people starts talking about Yuvi test career again by seeing this double hundred. Guys please stop this, don't spoil Indian test cricket. There are people like Rahane, Tiwary, Muund & Vijay done lot of 2 hundreds and waiting for place. Yuvi is already 30s like Badri, so ignore this one 2 hundred and we should move ahead with younger players. We found great Kohli because of scarifying Laxman, we have to do same. But still Dhoni in test captain, we can't do experiment with younger players and Raina will be there permanently and that happens no matter how many 0-8 test away results and how many raina failures.

  • on October 17, 2012, 11:44 GMT

    Don know why it happens often, that Yuvi scores in Hyderabad, and more often it goes vain in a losing cause..

  • stormy16 on October 17, 2012, 7:47 GMT

    I dont follow domestic cricket but the headline caught my attention. Only Yuvi can do something like this much like the incredible things he does on the field with bat, ball and fielding. It will be one of the great dissappoinments if this guy doesnt make a test name for himself.

  • on October 17, 2012, 3:12 GMT

    Both Yuvi & Kaif should play tests for India

  • cricketfannik on October 16, 2012, 22:50 GMT

    Yuvraj shuld be in Test squad atleast for Raina who played horrible shot and also some1 mentioned above that we should 3 sepeate teams. look 2 dhoni he hasnt played well in Test matches outside india failed misearably also look at indian batitng in Test matches Gambhir , sehwag failing badly. Sachin is in poor form but he will come back against england but seriously we need to think how much a player can take. dhoni is strugling he needs rest. his strike rate and stroke play has come down big time he has gone slow now. needs to take rest from this stupid CL20 who cares man so much T 20 is destroying everything

  • TSJ07 on October 16, 2012, 15:46 GMT

    From Yuvi's greatest fans...well done Yuvi...keep on working hard like this and surely someone will use his brain to select you instead of miserable Raina (in tests) at no.5.I still think you are one of most talented and mentally strong person to bat at no.5,6 or 7.If someone dont agree he should check his past record.All his top scores in tests came when India was 4-5 down for 50-80 odd runs at board.

  • Big3BOSS on October 16, 2012, 15:20 GMT

    I do not care if he is fit as Yohan blake . If India needs to be force in world cricket there should be seperate T20 , ODI and test team with different set of players ensuring there is no heavy workload on one player thus affecting performance. A prime example is Dhoni - the workload has taken its toll on him. Yuvraj , Raina, Kohli , Dhoni should be allowed to play only T20 and ODI because in tests their skills are not up to the mark. On other hand Gambhir, Pujara, Rohit , Rahane, Tiwary should only playing tests only. Players like Yusuf pathan, Uttapa , Saurabh Tiwary should play only T20. This will solve issue of player fatigue as well as adapting to different formats. Once a player knows he has to concentrate on one format only , he can work towards developing skills for that format only. This switching from T20 mode to ODI mode to Test mode and vice versa has destroyed techniques of players like Rohit Sharma (test material only) and will spoil techniques of other players aswel

  • on October 16, 2012, 15:14 GMT

    @rajeshj. By the way, the next two major test series will be played in India ! Not in England. Not in Australia. If at all selectors want to try Yuvi out in the longer version once again, these are the best opportunities. And many of the youngsters who are knocking on the doors also look up to him. In case the great Sachin retires, Yuvi can perfectly play that vital 'senor brother' role to those young ones who may get chosen. (Incidentally, currently we have only TWO reasonably reliable batsmen -- Kohli & Raina! All the others are suffering from suspect form). Class, form & fitness are more important than history, in choosing players.

  • JayGoswami on October 16, 2012, 14:56 GMT

    I think Yuvraj Singh after his treatment of cancer has shown his temperament to play all forms of cricket and I am sure if he plays with such temperament he would also be successful in tests like odis and t20s. Cancer has changed his life and I am sure he will come back strongly in test team.

  • Rajeshj on October 16, 2012, 12:54 GMT

    I don't see point in this article.. what kind of criticisms has he proved wrong.. its only the fitness part.. but what about his poor test record in spite of numerous chances.. even in ODIs how many innings of substance has he played outside India.. let us not get too emotional about this.. I don't think it would be right to consider him anymore for tests.. he is ideally suited only for ODIs and t20s and that too only in matches played in sub continent (like Gambhir)...

  • electric_loco_WAP4 on October 16, 2012, 12:28 GMT

    Not a bad effort scoring a 200 after coming from a long layoff and illness. However Yuvraj has been miserable in tests a (frankly) pedestrian club bowling on a (frankly) 'patta'-road in Hyderabad of a pitch does'nt mean much. Test match cricket (especially the better teams) is in an altogether different plane to be confident of passing the 'test'......

  • FarSight on October 16, 2012, 11:47 GMT

    Yuvraj is a good choice to replace Tendulkar at No. 4 batting position for India in tests. One hopes that it will happen next month against England.

  • raghavan88 on October 16, 2012, 11:27 GMT

    Good knock by Yuvraj.Though he has had a not so successful test career I would pick him over the Rohits and Rainas anyday in Tests.He is a good puller and hooker,only defect being his flashiness.

  • Rahul_Acharya on October 16, 2012, 10:20 GMT

    Yuvi is great. It ws good for UV to play the T20 WC and it would be better if he gets to play in Tests. Dhoni in his defense to select Raina says that he needs a left hander at 4 down who can also bowl...here you go...you can have Yuvi instead of Raina

  • cric_fan_sam on October 16, 2012, 10:15 GMT

    Yuvraj and Rohit should be in for Sachin and Raina for the 1st test against England. I know I'm going to get brickbats for even mentioning dropping Sachin, but I believe the home series is the best time to plan for the future. Sachin can always tour SA next year if he's fit and he wants to, infact you can even have him in the squad for the England series for his experience. Rohit hasn't got a chance in tests(He's failed in ODIs alright,but test cricket is a different ball game altogether).As far as Yuvi over Raina is concerned, Yuvi's problem has been with his temperament rather than his technique unlike Raina, so I believe his battle with cancer might have helped him overcome that. I am diverting from the topic but I hope cricinfo publishes this

  • on October 16, 2012, 7:26 GMT

    M.kaif has good mind of cricket.he must have seen yuvi's inning closely & he must have used every possible tactics to prevent him from scoring runs but in vain.so a word of praise from kaif ,who himeslf scored a fine 63, is a clear sign that yuvi is fully fit & deserve a place in upcoming test.

  • gopi.sachein on October 16, 2012, 6:33 GMT

    Yes. this is the good performance really... Yuvraj has proved that he is a great fighter.. i wonder how he stayed at the ground for 2 days and faced 241 balls... Old Manjrekar and Ravi should think now.. Yuvi is now 100% fit for England series.. Selectors pls listen here... Waiting to see another century from England tests.... Hope Yuvi deserve the place in England series squad.. All the best Yuvi..

  • on October 16, 2012, 5:33 GMT

    Yuvi u is great,take them one by one,tell ur critics go to ....ell,and mind their bussiness,all best a great future awaits u........................

  • on October 15, 2012, 23:05 GMT

    Congratulations, Yuvraj keep it up, 'Yuvraj has proved a lot of critics wrong' With best wishes.

  • cricket-is-passion on October 15, 2012, 20:16 GMT

    @Surajdon9: Every one agrees it is not international bowling standards but that's where a player starts getting rated about his/her skills and then proving on bit stages later. What we need to admit here is coming out (recovering) after such a illness he stayed for a long time and scored a double century. I know lot of people says/withdraw for small issues but this is good to see and he became another role model proving after himself fit (mentally and physical) to play longer version after that. Though he still have improve his physical fitness but that will on its way once he starts playing more domestic (first) and international cricket. Hatsoff Yuvi. BTW, I am not really a fan of Yuvi, being an Indian I like everyone who performs well and helps to secure a win for Team India.

  • on October 15, 2012, 20:12 GMT

    @Surajdon9, hi suraj.. as u said even simple school boy captain can hit century against 3rd class bowling attack on flat pitch.. Here scoring runs is not the point. They are not talking about the runs. It's abt the fitness Yuvi has showed in the match. Read the article well before u comment on some one.. I pity u buddy..

  • on October 15, 2012, 20:10 GMT

    Not a fan of Yuvraj in tests - though this is his second highest FC score... gritty performance bhai!!!

    @Suraj - First things first - please in all sincerity remove "don" from your handle... the reader kinda loses most interest after that... And that third-class bowling has 900+ First class wickets between them - hardly third class I'd say... Also, are you insinuating that all the batsmen who didn't hit a century are worse than "simple school boy captain"? (considering the school boy is a batsmen and not a number 8 fast bowler). Please stop calling domestic players third class as they, unlike you, have put in the hard yards to be playing Duleep Trophy...

    Another point here, players like Yuvraj are not generally patient to play for so long... more than the bowling they themselves loose cool and ultimately their wickets... So Yuvraj bhai be patient...

  • on October 15, 2012, 20:04 GMT

    Never mind the state of the pitch or the standard of the opposition, this is a fantastic comeback by Yuvraj Singh. All power to him.

  • Surajdon9 on October 15, 2012, 19:24 GMT

    against 3rd class bowling attack and flat track anybody can scored huge runs.i'm not surprising at all.even simple school boy captain can hit century againtst 3rd class bowling attack and flat track,yuvraj doing nothing great and new,,,.....

  • on October 15, 2012, 18:46 GMT

    I wonder what "70% fit" commentators Ravi Shastri and Sanjay Manjrekar have to say now.

  • on October 15, 2012, 18:02 GMT

    welcome back yuvi...god bless

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • on October 15, 2012, 18:02 GMT

    welcome back yuvi...god bless

  • on October 15, 2012, 18:46 GMT

    I wonder what "70% fit" commentators Ravi Shastri and Sanjay Manjrekar have to say now.

  • Surajdon9 on October 15, 2012, 19:24 GMT

    against 3rd class bowling attack and flat track anybody can scored huge runs.i'm not surprising at all.even simple school boy captain can hit century againtst 3rd class bowling attack and flat track,yuvraj doing nothing great and new,,,.....

  • on October 15, 2012, 20:04 GMT

    Never mind the state of the pitch or the standard of the opposition, this is a fantastic comeback by Yuvraj Singh. All power to him.

  • on October 15, 2012, 20:10 GMT

    Not a fan of Yuvraj in tests - though this is his second highest FC score... gritty performance bhai!!!

    @Suraj - First things first - please in all sincerity remove "don" from your handle... the reader kinda loses most interest after that... And that third-class bowling has 900+ First class wickets between them - hardly third class I'd say... Also, are you insinuating that all the batsmen who didn't hit a century are worse than "simple school boy captain"? (considering the school boy is a batsmen and not a number 8 fast bowler). Please stop calling domestic players third class as they, unlike you, have put in the hard yards to be playing Duleep Trophy...

    Another point here, players like Yuvraj are not generally patient to play for so long... more than the bowling they themselves loose cool and ultimately their wickets... So Yuvraj bhai be patient...

  • on October 15, 2012, 20:12 GMT

    @Surajdon9, hi suraj.. as u said even simple school boy captain can hit century against 3rd class bowling attack on flat pitch.. Here scoring runs is not the point. They are not talking about the runs. It's abt the fitness Yuvi has showed in the match. Read the article well before u comment on some one.. I pity u buddy..

  • cricket-is-passion on October 15, 2012, 20:16 GMT

    @Surajdon9: Every one agrees it is not international bowling standards but that's where a player starts getting rated about his/her skills and then proving on bit stages later. What we need to admit here is coming out (recovering) after such a illness he stayed for a long time and scored a double century. I know lot of people says/withdraw for small issues but this is good to see and he became another role model proving after himself fit (mentally and physical) to play longer version after that. Though he still have improve his physical fitness but that will on its way once he starts playing more domestic (first) and international cricket. Hatsoff Yuvi. BTW, I am not really a fan of Yuvi, being an Indian I like everyone who performs well and helps to secure a win for Team India.

  • on October 15, 2012, 23:05 GMT

    Congratulations, Yuvraj keep it up, 'Yuvraj has proved a lot of critics wrong' With best wishes.

  • on October 16, 2012, 5:33 GMT

    Yuvi u is great,take them one by one,tell ur critics go to ....ell,and mind their bussiness,all best a great future awaits u........................

  • gopi.sachein on October 16, 2012, 6:33 GMT

    Yes. this is the good performance really... Yuvraj has proved that he is a great fighter.. i wonder how he stayed at the ground for 2 days and faced 241 balls... Old Manjrekar and Ravi should think now.. Yuvi is now 100% fit for England series.. Selectors pls listen here... Waiting to see another century from England tests.... Hope Yuvi deserve the place in England series squad.. All the best Yuvi..