Yuvraj Singh has forced himself back into contention for a place in the national team after a smashing century in his comeback game for India 'A'. His 123 off 89 against West Indies 'A' will excite his fans but will also make some of his colleagues, extremely nervous as one of them may well have to make way for the return of the veteran left-hander. (Related: My passion for the game motivates me, says Yuvraj)
After a six-week training session in France, Yuvraj appeared leaner, meaner and more hungry for runs. It was this insatiable appetite that was on ample display on Sunday as the India 'A' skipper sent a strong message to the selectors who have been keeping a close eye on contenders for the side which will play against Australia in a solitary T20I and a five-ODI series, starting October 10. (Also read: Team India to wear an all-new jersey)
The Indian middle-order though has been in fine form with Virat Kohli, Dinesh Karthik, Suresh Raina, skipper MS Dhoni and Ravindra Jadeja delivering strong performances in the recent past. While Kohli, Dhoni and Jadeja can be comprehensively erased as players who may be forced to make way, the other two may have chinks in their armour.
Raina and Karthik have not been shabby on the field but can be short-changed if experience is what the selectors choose to back. Raina for instance, scored a half-century in Zimbabwe before bettering it with a century and several wicket-taking performances against South Africa 'A' and Australia 'A' respectively.
Karthik too has been effective with an unbeaten 73 against Australia 'A' recently. He however, much like Raina, will lose out in terms of his overall ODI average. While the Tamil Nadu wicket-keeper batsman averages 28.06 from 67 matches, Raina averages a little over 36 from 174 innings in the 50-over format.
In contrast, Yuvraj has the advantage of having played more ODIs than both these players combined and still manages to have a better average of 36.98 from 282 games. The Punjab cricketer recently said in an interview that fans should not forget what seniors has done for the Indian cricket team. "The best players should feature in the national team. It is great to see youngsters in the side performing well. It is a great way forward for India. I do, however, feel that a balance between seniors and youngsters can help secure wins," he had said.
With runs coming thick and fast for this senior, Yuvraj can now surely boast of more than just past laurels as he stakes his claim in the national side.