IPL 10

IPL 10: Unburdened of pressure, Yuvraj Singh is showing that age has nothing to do with ability

The 35-year-old rolled back the years with his clean display of hitting on Wednesday.

To watch Yuvraj Singh bat, at the peak of his ability and form, is a thing of beauty and art.

It is an art, though, which we thought we had lost to age, injuries and time. Especially on April 6, 2014. There — in the final of the World T20 against Sri Lanka — Yuvraj Singh had stuttered to a 21-ball 11. He was criticised. He was humiliated. He was banished. He was... many thought... finished.

Even last year, when he was called up to the Indian squad and played the Indian Premier League, he seemed a shadow of his earlier self. Sure, there would be those big, clean drives, the bat moving at an elegant arc, the ball making that sweet sound off the bat before disappearing into orbit. But these seemed few and far between. Yuvraj Singh, the maverick, the king, the cleanest hitter of a cricket ball in India much before the likes of MS Dhoni and Virat Kohli had come on to the scene, was gone, or so it seemed.

But Yuvraj was never gone. He had retreated into the shadows, biding his time. Waiting. Practising. And soon he did arrive. Against England at the start of the year in the One-Day International series, he met an old ally in Dhoni and went berserk. A hundred and fifty runs arrived in just 127 balls.

But it was in the Indian Premier League on Thursday that proved just what makes Yuvraj Singh so tantalisingly beautiful to watch. Just before he came in to the bat, the broadcasters ran a poll asking, “Who do you think should come in to bat next?”.

Yuvraj was the overwhelming winner with 70%.

Sure, it wasn’t a completely flawless innings. He was lucky not to have inside-edged a Aniket Choudhary delivery on to his stumps and was dropped by Sreenath Aravind in the deep.

But there was so much to admire. Like his cover drives through the line. Nothing too complex, too complicated. The bat coming down in one gorgeous arc. Meeting the ball right in the centre. Dispatching it to the boundary line and sometimes beyond.

Image credit: Ron Gaunt/Sportzpics
Image credit: Ron Gaunt/Sportzpics

The Royal Challengers Bangalore’s bowlers thought they could get him on the short ball. Of course, they could have but Aravind dropped it and with it the match. Yuvraj just kept on playing his beautiful swivel pull. His hands are so good to watch. Moving so fast, the bat speed flashing by in a blur. Yuvraj may not be the strongest man in Indian cricket but his bat speed and fast hands can hit the ball out of any stadium.

Even his captain David Warner was in the mood for throwbacks.

“That’s the Yuvi I used to watch on TV,” Warner said. “Superb stroke-play, hitting it clean, and, you know what, he backed himself. And that’s the way we want him to keep playing.”

You can sense that a lot of Yuvraj’s gameplay is about confidence. When he’s in the best of nick, everything just moves together. Head, bat, feet, arms - they all sync and there’s destruction. But when he’s not in the best of form, things go awry. That’s what we saw earlier. But thankfully he managed to get over that.

“My batting has been up and down over the couple of years, but I am feeling really good at the moment. I just need to continue this good run forward,” said the left-hander on his 27-ball 62. “The comeback into the Indian team has really helped me. I am more free in my mind and I am not worrying anymore about making a comeback. I am just going to play according to the situation and express myself.”

A free Yuvraj, unburdened by pressure, is a Yuvraj Singh at the prime of his ability. And that’s not good news for the seven other IPL franchises.

We welcome your comments at letters@scroll.in.
Sponsored Content BY 

Inspiration for the lazy, the casual and the gourmet home chefs alike

Discover, or rediscover the daily delight in food, one ingredient at a time.

It is known that home chefs can be arranged in a pyramid - the lazy ones at the bottom, the casual cooks in the middle and the gourmet experts at the top. While the challenges differ with each level, great solutions exist to make every meal an experience, regardless of the kind of cook you are. This guide to creating delightful food has something for everyone.

The lazy, hassled home chefs

You can ease into cooking by putting together meals that require minimal technique. Salads are a good place to start. Experiment with seasonal and exotic fruits and vegetables, tender vegetables and herbs, and artisanal breads as sides for a fresh, healthy and surprisingly gourmet experience.

Don’t be dismayed if you’re a non-vegetarian. There are still meals that require next-to-no prep. Think sausages that can easily be fried or grilled and cold cuts that pack a flavour punch. Health-conscious people can look for additive-free, preservative-free meat, bromate free bread and produce from free-range farms for assurance of quality. For variety, you can even put together a great Middle Eastern platter with fresh hummus and other dips.

For the casual cooks looking to impress

So, you can cook a decent meal but are looking to give your food that X-factor? To liven up regular dishes, experiment with superfoods which make your meals nutritious and novel. Try combinations like oats chila, quinoa or couscous upmas or a sprinkle of chia seeds in your breakfast pudding. Look for quality imports and efficient distribution for maximum retention of nutrients in superfoods.

Skilled enough to host people? An upgrade from basic ingredients is the most visible sign of your culinary progression. Experiment with exotic herbs like parsley, rosemary and sage as garnishing for intriguing flavours in your soups and salads. For lip-smacking desserts, use exotic fruits like kiwi, dragon fruit, acai berries and rambutan – your guests will be delighted.

For the perfectionist gourmet chefs

You’re quite the culinary expert in your circles, but want to leap to the next level? At the core of a successful gourmet creation lie the best ingredients. Seek a delicatessen which gives you only the freshest and most diverse range of ingredients. You’ll notice the difference in flavours as you move from garlic powder to actual garlic, and from chilli powder to real paprika in your preparations.

From the basic to the exotic, whatever ingredients you seek to implement the tips we just gave you are available at Godrej Nature’s Basket, the best store for fresh, quality ingredients. As the video below shows, their online and offline stores source and serves a wide variety of foods - fruits & vegetables, authentic delicatessen, the finest meats, irresistible bakery products, ready-to-cook sauces, healthy snacks and more.

Play

Health-conscious people can also be assured of unmatched quality. You can choose from pesticide free offerings, organic fruits and vegetables, steroid-free meats, first catch of the day fish and seafood, bromate free bread and the best dairy and cheese from all over the world.

With their collection of hors d’oeuvre, artisanal breads, confectionary and desserts, there’s really no limit to what you can achieve daily in your kitchen. What’s more, all these high-quality products come at great, affordable prices.

To elevate your cooking and discover a world where food is a delight every day, click here.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Godrej Nature’s Basket and not by the Scroll editorial team.