Yuvraj Singh is always a force to be reckoned with © Getty Images
Yuvraj Singh will be determined to perform in yet another comeback trail © Getty Images

A picture is worth a thousand words. The above image clearly captures a passionate player’s roar, his urge for supremacy and zeal to continue doing what he does the best. Yuvraj Singh was India’s mainstay in limited-overs until the 2011 World Cup triumph. Yuvraj was India’s linchpin until he was diagnosed with cancer. However, that does not change the fact that Yuvraj helped India scale newer heights until the world was his oyster. However, that does not change the respect and adoration we have for Yuvraj when he was involved in the epic run-chase on the night of the quarter-final versus Australia, let alone the six sixes off Stuart Broad or his partnership with Mohammad Kaif at Lord’s in 2002.

Yes, Yuvraj has had a topsy-turvy ride for the past 5 years. Nonetheless, his temperament needs no introduction, as he yet again finds himself in the scheme of things prior to the ODI leg versus England. After the national selection committee drafted the squads for the upcoming limited-over series, there were many surprises in store. Though the 37-year-old Ashish Nehra and 19-year-old Rishabh Pant were added for T20I series, it was Yuvraj’s name that made ample noise after getting another look-in.

Whether it is his past glories, stature or desire to continue, he has again been given a run by the selectors. All eyes are on the 35-year-old, who is preparing for yet another comeback in an eventful career.

April 2, 2011 — the day India won a 50-over World Cup after 28 years. They trounced Sri Lanka by 6 wickets, with MS Dhoni finishing things off in style along with Yuvraj at the other end.

But as fate would have it, Yuvraj soon hit a rough patch. Struggling with cancer mid-way through the marquee event, Yuvraj ignored his health and craved for only one more dream-come-true — a World Cup win.

Yuvraj would have prayed to the almighty, “More power until I go under diagnosis. More power until I hold the trophy in my hand.” And that happened: Virat Kohli lifted Sachin Tendulkar on his shoulders, Dhoni posed for a photograph at Gateway of India with the trophy, and Yuvraj, our very own Yuvraj, won the Man-of-the-Series award.

But the cancer…

We often hear him tweet or say, “I’m a fighter, not a quitter.” And he did so, defeating the disease to don India’s jersey once again in 2012.

Yuvraj, however, lost his mojo post the life-threatening disease. He averaged 19.32 in 2013, and never showed up in ODIs ever since. He has, by all means, managed to play the last two editions of ICC World T20, given his record in the shortest format of the game.

ICC WT20 2014 was a nightmare for him. Therefore, he was ignored for ICC World Cup 2015. He, though, remained on the sidelines only to make a comeback in ICC WT20 2016, held in India. With no big scores and finishing with a mere average of 13, he was shown the door once again.

“I look forward to play for 3-4 years. I don’t know, maybe more,” Yuvraj had said.

Yuraj is no mood to hang up his boots. Connoisseurs of the game can write him off, but he will always find a way in. If the nation is done applauding MS Dhoni’s credentials as skipper, they should take note of Yuvraj’s urge to excel even after his series of debacles.

With the rise of stalwarts like Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Ravindra Jadeja and newcomers Hardik Pandya and Manish Pandey in the ranks, Yuvraj has still managed to make a mark with impressive performances in domestic competitions. As a result, his name unearthed when chairman of selectors MSK Prasad announced the team.

Since 2012, Yuvraj has staged a comeback four times. After being selected, he recently stated. “Never-giving-up is my attitude. Things can always change in a very short time. I have had lots of ups and downs and learned from them,” Yuvraj said after the selection.

One does not have to dwell upon Yuvraj’s stellar performances from the past, but take a leaf out of his mindset to know why selectors, time and again, fall back to him.

Yuvraj commands respect. India’s middle-order is up for grabs with established names trying to cement their place amidst strong competition. Amidst the entire hullabaloo, Yuvraj is still determined to claim the spot that was his own back in mid-2000. For his sheer attitude, there is always excitement with the mention of his name in the playing XI.

There have been some amazing performances by the swashbuckling batsman on his comeback trails. One cannot forget the intense chase he pulled off against Australia at Rajkot in 2013: chasing 202 in the one-off T20, Yuvraj had blasted a 57 ball-77 to take India home.

No matter how far he is from the game, if given a chance, Yuvraj proves his mettle of excelling at crucial junctures. During his last comeback, he only got to bat in his third appearance. India were chasing a big score against Australia in 2016, at SCG. His first delivery in international cricket, in almost two years, came in the last two overs. Not an ideal situation for a comeback man, but Yuvraj had been through such tumultuous times. He took on Andrew Tye with 17 required off 6 balls. His cameo of 15 off 12 balls led India to a series whitewash over the mighty Australians in their own den.

Yuvraj, then, regained fans’ faith. No doubt that he is a man of big moments, and cherishes pressure situations. Earning the blue jersey is no small feat, and with an unmatched appetite like Yuvraj’s, he is in no mood to pass it on. His competitive attitude, for that matter, never fails to hog limelight.

Will he deliver again?

With Dhoni away from all responsibilities, cricket lovers may as well fasten their seat belts and hope for the fierce pair of Dhoni and Yuvraj to take on the oppositions with their aggressive style of play.

The stage is set for another Yuvi special when he takes on the field, starting from the first practice game against England on January 10, at Mumbai’s Brabourne Stadium.