Watching Yuvraj bat over the past two days has been a bitter-sweet experience for me. The first emotion is because he scored the double hundred against the team I am leading Central Zone and it is never a good feeling when a batsman from the opposition goes onto making a big score against your bowlers.
However,having said that,at the end of the second day,I am happy to see Yuvraj continuing to do well on his comeback after battling cancer. The hallmark of this particular innings in Hyderabad was his timing one of his strengths over the years. When he times the ball well he becomes a completely different batsman and that is what he did during his long stay at the wicket over the first two days of the Duleep Trophy semifinals. What was as impressive as the number of runs Yuvraj scored was the fact that he was able to bat over five hours across two days and he must be very pleased with his level of fitness,which is key when you play the longer versions of the game.
Though he scored a large number of runs in boundaries on way to his double hundred he also showed that he could sprint between the wickets. At different points in the game he did steal quick singles,but given that he was in good form he didnt have to spend too much time running between the wickets.
What makes his double hundred special was that it came in the first innings of his first first-class game after nearly a year. However accomplished a player one is,it is always difficult to return to the game after a long break,and keeping in mind what Yuvraj has been through it is even more commendable.
Yuvraj and I go back a long way right from our Under-19 days when I was captain of the World Cup team. Other than his exquisite timing another characteristic that hasnt changed is his fighting spirit. Yuvraj was always been highly competitive and what was clear during the first two days in Hyderabad was that he has not lost any of his zest for the game. It was good to see that my old mate Yuvi remains a fighter. (As told to Nihal Koshie)