Sunday, Oct 26, 2014

Who’s in line anyway?

Yuvraj’s misery could be an opportunity for, among others. (AP) Yuvraj’s misery could be an opportunity for, among others. (AP)
Written by Shamik Chakrabarty | Kolkata | Posted: April 10, 2014 2:39 am | Updated: April 10, 2014 11:22 am

Yuvraj Singh’s long walk back after bring dismissed for 11 off 21 balls in the final of the World T20 is still fresh in the minds of the dejected Indian fan. But when the seventh edition of the Indian Premier League is to begin in less than 10 days after the world event, there is hope of a turnaround in fortunes for the batsman.

However, the sighting of an opening in the Indian middle-order will steel those who believe they are contenders to take the spot, which is up for grabs because of the shaky form for Yuvraj.

Ambati Rayudu will habour aspirations of being a more regular member of the Indian team. So will Manoj Tiwary and Saurabh Tiwary and Cheteshwar Pujara among others.

But dreams can transform into reality only with performance, in this case runs. And there is no quicker route to success and to catch the selectors’ attention than excelling in the Indian Premier League.

Pujara was included in the squad for the Asia Cup but didn’t get a game. Manoj and Saurabh have fallen off the radar for different reasons and now bank on a successful IPL-7 to resurrect their careers.

Spare a thought for Virender Sehwag as well. The attacking opener is out of the Indian team and has been struggling for consistency. Delhi Daredevils didn’t retain him and uncertainty loomed over his IPL career briefly before Kings XI Punjab decided to hand him a Rs 3.2 crore contract. With the World Cup less than a year away, this IPL might determine Sehwag’s Team India future.

“I’m looking forward to this IPL. I will bat the way I like to bat — go there and smash it, and leave the bowlers scared,” Sehwag said on the KXIP Hangout.

Coach Sanjay Bangar said they would try to help the opener return to form. “Initially we thought about making him (Sehwag) the captain but eventually decided against it to allow him to play with complete freedom. This is a new franchise for him and he struggled for form in domestic cricket. So we appointed George Bailey as our captain,” Bangar told his Hangout audience.

See ball, hit ball: Pujara

Pujara, on the other hand, hoped he would be getting more opportunities. “I didn’t get enough opportunity at Kolkata Knight Riders and Royal Challengers Bangalore. Hopefully I will get more opportunities for Kings XI Punjab.”

But does he find the transition to limited-overs format a little difficult? “Not really. If the ball is there to be hit, I will hit. With experience and practice you get better in this format. I’ve also played a few ODIs and the experience will help,” said Pujara.

Away in Kolkata, Manoj Tiwary was preparing for a “make or break” IPL. He last played for India in September 2012. Back spasm had ruled him out of the home ODI series against Pakistan and continued…

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