India's Yuvraj, a man with golden touch

Updated: 26 March 2011 15:45 IST

A joke is doing the rounds at the World Cup that if India's Yuvraj Singh bats even with a stump, he will return to the dressing-room with at least a half-century under his belt.

India's Yuvraj, a man with golden touch
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New Delhi:

A joke is doing the rounds at the World Cup that if India's Yuvraj Singh bats even with a stump, he will return to the dressing-room with at least a half-century under his belt.

The aggressive left-hander has already compiled 341 runs in seven matches with one hundred and four half-centuries at an amazing average of 113.66.

India may have prolific openers in Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag, but Yuvraj has caught the eye with scoring runs in crunch situations as well as taking wickets with his tidy left-arm spin.

He is the tournament's fourth-highest scorer after Tendulkar (379), Sri Lankan Kumar Sangakkara (363) and Sehwag (342) ahead of next week's blockbuster semi-final clash with Pakistan in Mohali.

What has pleased Yuvraj the most in this tournament is that he has managed to perform the role of a finisher remarkably well, like former Australian one-day specialist Michael Bevan.

"Finishing a game gives me a lot of confidence going into the next match. I'm just happy about how I am hitting the ball. My responsibility is to bat till the end whether we are batting first or chasing a target," said Yuvraj.

"I missed quite a bit of cricket over a year and a half due to injuries and now to come back and play my part in victories is very satisfying."

The latest example came during the quarter-final against defending champions Australia when he remained unbeaten with 57 to see his team home.

The game looked evenly poised when India were reduced to 187-5 chasing a 261-run target on a slow Ahmedabad track but Yuvraj held his nerve under pressure and added 74 runs with Suresh Raina in a match-winning stand.

When asked if everything he was touching was now turning to gold, Yuvraj said: "I think so. Last year, whatever I was doing was turning into mud."

Yuvraj, who smashed six sixes in an over from England paceman Stuart Broad in a 2007 World Twenty20 in South Africa, has a strike-rate of below 100 in this World Cup but his team are not complaining.

Yuvraj has also solved a major bowling problem for India.

The part-timer's best came when he bagged a maiden five-wicket haul against Ireland in Bangalore after the frontline bowlers struggled to make an impact.

"I am a part-time bowler and when I got those five wickets I was as happy as I was when I scored my first one-day international hundred. I think it's an achievement for a part-timer to get five wickets," he said.

Yuvraj took just two matches to prove he belonged on the big stage, cracking a brisk 84 against an Australian attack comprising Glenn McGrath, Brett Lee and Jason Gillespie in Nairobi in 2000.

He now returns to his home ground in Mohali hoping to put in another impressive all-round show. He has so far scored 8,030 runs in 272 matches with 13 hundreds and taken 105 wickets.

Topics : Anil Kumble Yuvraj Singh Gary Kirsten ICC World Cup, 2011 Cricket
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