When Yuvraj Singh had played the belligerent knock of 150 runs in only his second One-Day International after returning to the team following a three-year gap, hopes were high that the southpaw has finally found his mojo in the Indian jersey.
One of India’s biggest match-winners in the shorter formats of the game, Yuvraj Singh’s career had taken an unfortunate turn when he was diagnosed with cancer just months after playing an integral part in India’s victorious campaign in 2011 World Cup. But fortunately, the 35-year-old came out unscathed in his war against cancer and made a remarkable return to the cricket field.
Since then, he was getting chances every now and then to prove himself at the international level once again. However, the left-handed batsman struggled to get going in the famous blue jersey but seemed to have cemented his place in the ODI team after his 150-run knock in his comeback series against England earlier this year. His quickfire half-century in the opening game of the just-concluded Champions Trophy further gave hopes that he has hit the top gear.
However, the star batsman has struggled to replicate his best form since then. After scoring 7, 23* and 22 in the following matches of the tournament, he failed to get back to form in the ongoing ODI series against Windies where he has managed scores of four and 14 in the first two games. Moreover, the way he struggled to get going in this year’s IPL, it is quite clear that the Punjab-born cricketer is well past his prime.
With the next World Cup just a couple of years away, several former cricketers including the legendary Rahul Dravid has urged the selectors to reassess Yuvraj’s role in the team and also to look beyond him to find a suitable replacement. So here we are taking a look at five players who have the potential to replace the World Cup-winning star.
5. Suresh Raina:
Suresh Raina had become an indispensable part of India’s limited-overs team since making his comeback in 2008. However, a string of poor performances saw him getting dropped from the ODI team in 2015 and the 30-year-old is still waiting for a call from the selectors.
His last ODI appearance had come way back in October 2015 during the five-match series against South Africa. On the friendly pitches, the Uttar Pradesh star struggled against the Protea bowlers and was dropped from the team thereafter. In first three matches of the series- he registered a score of three in the first ODI followed by two ducks in the next two games. He scored a fifty in the fourth match but another failure in the final fixture was enough for the selectors to show him the door.
He was recalled for the ODI series against New Zealand in October last year but did not play a single game due to illness. However, he was handed a lifeline when he was recalled for the T20 series against England earlier this year and the southpaw fully capitalised on it by finishing the three-match series as its third highest run-getter with 104 runs.
He was ignored for the Champions Trophy but his performances in this year’s IPL, where he scored 442 runs in 14 matches, is enough to prove that he still has a lot to offer to Indian cricket.
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