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Never too large for the game

Cricket without fat men is like 007 without his license to kill. Bring Yuvraj back at once

Jarrod Kimber

Comments: 23 | Text size: A | A
Yuvraj Singh checks if his finger has healed, Cuttack, December 20, 2009
Yuvraj can't help feeling hungry as his fingers begin to resemble mini Mars bars © AFP

If all cricketers were like Mike Hussey or AB de Villiers, cricket would be a little samey. Yes, there is a place for the overachieving accountant and the Christian-pop lovers in cricket, but cricket also needs diversity.

One great cricketing diversity has always been seen in waistbands. In normal life someone of WG Grace's girth might have been a laughing stock, but in cricket he was one of the gods. Arjuna Ranatunga might have the body shape of a guy who owns a doughnut emporium in Idaho, but he also has a World Cup. And while Mike Gatting should be abused for being a tad portly, he is instead abused for his reverse sweep.

Yuvraj Singh is one of the best batsmen to watch in world cricket when he's in form. He is ego personified. Yuvraj doesn't just hit the ball, he lets it rebound off his aura. But now he has been dropped after a poor run of form and higher numbers on the scale. It seems unfair. In this world of political correctness gone crazy, a man can be pushed aside just because he enjoys his food and missed a few gym sessions.

When talking about Yuvraj's axing, Kris Srikkanth might have mentioned form, but he quickly mentioned fitness afterwards. It was an axing based on form and physical form. There can be no doubt, size matters to the Indian selectors.

As an advocate of all body types, I'd like you to think about what cricket would miss if larger men had always been shunned:

Would legspin have come back into cricket if Shane Warne had not been allowed to play?

Imagine a world without Inzamam's sublime batting and farcical running.

Minnow cricket could hardly stand up right if it were not kept balanced by Bermuda's favourite son, Dwayne Leverlock.

How could anyone ever want to live knowing that the moustaches of David Boon and Merv Hughes were hidden from the world because of belly issues?

Think of the joy in Jesse Ryder laughing while he stood at the non-striker's end on 99, watching Chris Martin bat?

Don't tell me that seeing Ramesh Powar play international cricket didn't fill you with glee.

These men have left a mark on international cricket just in the last couple of decades, and there is more where that came from. Cricket is not a game just for the athletically gifted. It is a game for the fat man who can hit, the large-bummed bowling athlete, and the round captain. It is a game that not only embraces standing still for long periods of time, but if you get hurt you can just stand there and hit while another man does the running for you. It also breaks for lunch and drinks.

It couldn't possibly be more aimed at the ample-framed. Wicketkeepers need girth to ensure that no ball passes them. Batsmen need size to ensure balance. Fast bowlers need rump for power through the crease. And spinners need to be large to lull batsmen into a false sense of security.

This game of cricket cannot become a sizeist sport. The large-boned man must be placed up on a reinforced pedestal, because large men are cricket. Fat men are jollier, cooler, and less likely to talk about good areas or momentum than anyone else. So ridding the game of them is against the true spirit of cricket.

I don't care if Yuvraj comes back with seven chins, cankles and washes himself with a rag on a stick, I just like to see him bat. His waist size has never had anything to do with it.

RSS FeedJarrod Kimber, the mind responsible for, is an Australian writer based in London. His new book is now on sale

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Posted by Avi on (June 18, 2010, 23:33 GMT)

Actually Mike Hussey was a chemistry teacher.

Posted by Dummy4 on (June 18, 2010, 23:14 GMT)

what about Ian Austin, Inzamam, Mark Ealham and Boon!

Posted by mayur on (June 18, 2010, 22:29 GMT)

He is ego personified. Yuvraj doesn't just hit the ball, he lets it rebound off his aura.

What comment. I just loved it.

Yuvraj should not have been dropped. Rather, it should have been announced that the selectors want him to spend some time away from Intl cricket & regain full fitness or may be something like Yuvi has asked for the time. Droppping some on of Yuvi's calibre is disgusting. He deserved to be kept out but in a better manner. They shud have said that Yuvi is rested.

Posted by Dummy4 on (June 18, 2010, 19:17 GMT)

amazing article....bravo....bring back the punjab tha puttar,.....

Posted by Dummy4 on (June 18, 2010, 18:15 GMT)

Cricket has evolved with years.It has taken new forms and shapes which needs fitter and best talent.For example T20 needs high athletic skills and energy there is nothing wrong in the selectors coating fitness as one of the reason.

Regarding his form "Class is Permanent and form is temporary".So yuvi has got that class and he can come back anyday stronger than now.There is a big talent pool youngsters nowadays who are performing more consistently and showing early maturity raina,kohli,gambhir could be the best exmaples and there are lots of youngsters waiting for a chance like pujara,saurabh,manoj tiwary,badrinath etc

So its time for yuvi to brush up his skills.This situation may arise to any member of the team as lots of youngsters pushing around for a chance and no wonder even Sachin will have to face this if he cant keep up the pace but to everyones surprise sachin still stays fit and plays like a 16 year old. Let yuvi take inspiration frm sachin.!!wish YUVI plays the next WC

Posted by Dummy4 on (June 18, 2010, 18:13 GMT)

So much write up for misunderstood context. This article works fine from inflated dramatic point of view. By citing the examples of cricketing greats with physical abnormalities and comparing their case with Yuvi's, inspire intended sympathy from the reader if he completely forgets the reality. Those greats you mentioned have great respect and passion towards the game unlike Yuvi's current state. In reality everything from his body language to poor fielding to disgusting attitude to poor form with bat to his lack of interest in game contributed to his axing from the team. Yuvi is the best thing happened to India after Sachin and Viru. He is one of the main reasons for revival of Indian team. Of late he became sluggish in the field and his body language says it all. If you have any doubts about that watch re run of his batting from an year back and last IPL. I am a die hard Yuvi fan and dying to see him in action but feel that his axing is completely justified.

Posted by Dummy4 on (June 18, 2010, 18:09 GMT)

Come On Guys!!!! We can't be just criticising the article and the writer just because Yuvraj is out of form and fitness. This writer is truly a DIE HARD FAN of Yuvraj and the likes of Ranatunga, Inzi, Ryder and so on. He's just trying to show that if these Fat men were ever ignored by the selectors, we wouldn't have seen Championships exchange hands. Ranatunga dared to snatch it from the Aussies, Yuvraj did it against England from where India never looked back in the tournament and went to win the inaugural T20 World Championship. We will never see a better batsman who plays fast and fierce bowling better than Inzi. All in all I agree that fitness is a part of a sportsman's persona but it doesn't mean we axe him from the side when he's out of form and a bit of fitness. We should be supportive at times when he is going through a bad patch. There is not a single sportsman on the planet who hasn't had a bad patch in his career.

Posted by praveen on (June 18, 2010, 17:38 GMT)

The other cricketers quoted in the article were large to begin with. Yuvraj used to be an athletic, fit cricketer and a great fielder. He has slipped from his own high standards. The selectors have done the right thing by dropping him. With the free time he has on hand he can work on his fitness and get back in shape. Recently Virender Sehwag went through the same routine. He had gained weight and was not making runs. The selectors dropped him, he worked on his fitness to lose weight, and came back to the side in roaring form. I hope Yuvi can do the same.

Posted by Dummy4 on (June 18, 2010, 17:11 GMT)

I disagree. VVS Laxman is still an automatic selection (and with good reason) for the Test side and he ain't no fitness freak. Fitness =/= not being pudgy.

Posted by Vijayaraghavan on (June 18, 2010, 16:14 GMT)

Jarrod.. this seems to be too much of seriousness brought in into Page 2 :O..Not funny.. But Ranatunga, Inzi played in a different era when T20 was seen as a lame attempt at joke.. If Ranatunga and Inzi played now they wouldnt even have the reflexes to do umpiring. And we all know how many times there both have been run out even before they have started running :D

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