Has Yuvraj Singh played his last match for India? Have the curtains come down on the career of one of India's biggest limited overs match winners? Or can Yuvi, who has battled poor form, selection snubs and cancer in the past make one last triumphant comeback?
NDTV.com ran a poll asking the question 'who should consider himself unlucky to have missed out on the World Cup squad' and it isn't a surprise that over 50% of the close to 4000 people who voted, picked Yuvraj.
But was Yuvraj not being picked in the final 15 man squad for the ICC World Cup really a surprise? Afterall, he wasn't part of the 30 man probables list either. The result of the poll shows that the Indian cricket fan believes that Yuvi still has cricket left in him and the Man of the Series of India's triumphant 2011 World Cup campaign deserves to be part of the squad that will try to defend the cup.
But what of Yuvi himself? A man who has played 293 ODIs, scored over 8000 runs with 13 centuries. How should he react to the selectors' mindset of focussing on young talent? Sunil Gavaskar told NDTV "Yuvraj would have got the signal when the probables were named. It's hard on him and a huge blow to his morale." (Related: Yuvraj's exclusion was expected, says Gavaskar)
The selection snub will be morale shattering. Yuvi had told NDTV a few months ago that he will do his best to be picked, the rest is in the hands of the selectors. Despite not being in the 30 man probables list, Yuvraj showed that his bat can still talk, notching up 3 centuries in as many Ranji Trophy matches. But that was not enough for the 5 wise men of Indian cricket. (Also read: My son will bounce back, Yuvraj won't melt like snow: Yograj)
Yuvraj is 33 years old, not a young man by any strech of the imagination, as far as competitive sport is concerned. But many cricketers have played well beyond 35. According to Sunil Gavaskar "The World Cup axe should spur Yuvraj on to score double tons in Ranji Trophy and win his place back in the team. He is only 33 years old, he should be motivated to make a comeback."
He hasn't played an ODI in over a year, but if sheer talent is the criteria, Yuvraj ticks that box. But then that is not the only box. Former India cricketer Abbas Ali Baig added another dimension to Yuvraj not being picked for the World Cup. Baig told NDTV "I think it was difficult to bring someone like Yuvraj in, particularly because he has been through a lot and on as long tour as the tri-series and the World Cup, I think his fitness might have been a little bit of a dicey quantity."
Yuvraj's father Yograj is confident his son will make another comeback. "Yuvraj is not somebody who melts like snow, I have not raised him that way. He is a tough guy, who is known to weather every storm that comes his way" is what his reaction was after Yuvi was left out of the World Cup squad. But the only one whose confidence counts at this time is Yuvraj's. Does he believe in his heart that he can wear the blue shirt of India again?
Think Yuvraj and you will think of a flamboyant southpaw, full of God-given natural talent who emerged as one of India's biggest limited overs match winners. He has had a 13 year international cricket career in which he has seen the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. But is there another chapter left to be written, or has one of India's biggest impact players played his last international match?