Yuvraj Singh's success percentage with the ball in T20s has been spectacular for a non-frontline bowler

Yuvraj Singh… one of two Indian bowlers to capture three or more wickets in a T20 International on four occasions © Getty Images

The ‘pie-chucker’ joins the party with his seemingly innocuous left-arm orthodox. Yuvraj Singh has been renowned for his hard-hitting batting, but since the 2011 World Cup he has rolled his arm over successfully. With India lacking the genuine all-rounder for the one-day formats, Yuvraj has worked on his bowling to provide that option and has filled in the void. His recent performances in T20 Internationals show that he is a much improved bowler and the opposition can ill-afford a complacent approach while tackling him.
Yuvraj’s credentials in T20 cricket have always been fantastic as he has been India’s game-changer. His performances at the 2007 World T20 inspired the young side to lift the trophy. Since then, he is a changed player and adds more value to the team. His batting continues to be dangerous, but his bowling is getting better and better with each passing game. If one looks at his performance in T20 internationals since his comeback after cancer, he has been particularly successful with the ball – picking a wicket in every game – barring two.
Yuvraj’s bowling numbers in T20 internationals since his return in September 2012:

M Wkts Avg ER Best
8 14 9.35 5.53 3/17

Taking his two wicketless games out of the equation, he has taken 14 wickets in six matches. Now, that is more than two wickets a game – which is phenomenal for a non-regular bowler. What is most impressive is his economy rate – something that some of the frontline bowlers would envy.

In the two T20s against England, Yuvraj has outperformed India’s frontline options. The thing that has set him apart is that he has been very smart and assessed the conditions and bowled accordingly. At Pune, he took pace off the ball to fox the England batsmen. He was even more impressive at Mumbai at a time the other Indian bowlers were taken to the cleaners. Take him out of the game and one can only imagine the devastation caused by Messers Morgan and company.

Yuvraj is one of the two Indian bowlers who have taken three wickets or more four times (or more) in T20 Internationals:

Player M 3+ wks
Saeed Ajmal 48 10
Ajantha Mendis 27 9
Umar Gul 49 8
Lasith Malinga 40 6
Shahid Afridi 56 5
Tim Southee 31 5
Harvir Baidwan 15 5
Dirk Nannes 17 5
Darren Sammy 37 4
George Dockrell 19 4
Nathan McCullum 40 4
Sunil Narine 13 4
Andre Botha 14 4
Mitchell Johnson 28 4
Mohammad Amir 18 4
Irfan Pathan 24 4
Shaun Tait 19 4
Yuvraj Singh 31 4

Yuvraj is the only part time bowler in this table – which is dominated by specialists. Yes, Harvir Baidwan and Andre Botha do find a spot, but they are all-rounders and more importantly have played most of their games against associate or affiliate teams. For someone who isn’t a specialist bowler, it is a phenomenal achievement to find his name in this list. Interestingly, three of his four three-fors have come this year after his comeback.
The Indian attack would do well to take a leaf out of Yuvraj’s book with the series against Pakistan coming up. Yuvraj’s bowling shows that it isn’t so much about ability, but is all about application. He succeeds because he has that burning desire to emerge victorious and the cricketing mind to put his plans in place.
(Nishad Pai Vaidya is a Correspondent with CricketCountry and an analyst, anchor and voice-over artist for the site’s YouTube Channel. He shot to fame by spotting a wrong replay during IPL4 which resulted in Sachin Tendulkar’s dismissal. His insights on the game have come in for high praise from cerebral former cricketers. He has also participated on live TV talk-shows on cricket. Nishad can be followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/nishad_44