Yuvi-Dhoni pair brings back the old memories

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Yuvi-Dhoni pair brings back the old memories

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Bastab K Parida


While Dhoni was calm and composed at one end playing second fiddle, Yuvraj was a veritable monster pulling, driving, and flicking the Englishmen all around the park.

The Barabati Stadium in Cuttack doesn’t host a lot of international matches and the rarity means the otherwise sleepy silver city decks itself up when an international match comes to the venue. Almost after a gap of one and half years, Team India were playing at the Barabati, and everybody in the know was waiting for a possible run-fest. But here, it was not Virat Kohli making all the noise in the middle rather it was the vintage pair of  Mahi-Yuvi, that once had set the cricketing world aflame with their superb partnerships, that pulled India out of the woods. 

While Dhoni was calm and composed at one end playing second fiddle, Yuvraj was a veritable monster pulling, driving, and flicking the Englishmen all around the park.  

After a gap of four long years, when Yuvraj has got the selectors’ call for the one-day series against England, he seemed flawless and even spoke of how much eager he was to make the opportunity count. With Dhoni stepping down from the captaincy duty, Yuvraj, in an interview with the bcci.tv, had said, "It will be like the old days playing with him (Dhoni) when we had started. Obviously, I started much before him but back then we were fearless when we used to play together. We can do the same this time, in the upcoming series."

And boy, didn’t they? 

The duo joined hands when India were placed at a precarious position with the scorecard reading 25/3. Shikhar Dhawan continued his lean patch and India had already lost the wicket of skipper Virat Kohli and openerKL Rahul. The onus was on the old men’s shoulder, to save India the blushes. The pressure of anticipation was on. Yuvraj’s first run was met with rousing chants, and that only grew stronger with Dhoni joining in. 

Jake Ball’s first ball came as a releasing point - Yuvraj flicked the ball through square leg for four. After a couple more boundaries within the next five deliveries, England skipper Eoin Morgan had asked his bowlers to bowl little short. 

Now, Dhoni had the time to don the supporter role, and he also knew that the team needed him the most right now. He played each ball carefully. He didn’t play any big shot until it was in his zone. His knock was a lesson in how to pace an innings.

Yuvraj’s last century had come against a hapless West Indian side in the 2011 ICC Cricket World Cup. Since then, Dhoni could manage to score just two more. But yesterday when both the batsmen were in action at the same time, memories of glorious Indian days started coming back. 


Dhoni was at the other end, when Yuvraj hit Stuart Broad for six sixes in an over in the inaugural World T20. Yuvraj at the other end, when Dhoni launched Nuwan Kulasekara for a six over the night sky of the Wankhede Stadium to win the 2011 ICC Cricket World Cup. Both understand each other well. 

"Mahi (Dhoni) and me have played a lot of games for India. The camaraderie is always there. I think we have a lot of understanding when we bat together," Yuvi said at the post-match press conference. 

“He (Dhoni) played a great innings. He is the most experienced middle-order batsman in the team. He is also a sensational captain. He was more free today, the way he was batting. I have always said when Mahi is not captaining, he is more free and you saw the result today.”

A lot of eyebrows were raised when selectors decided to award Yuvraj’s consistency in the Ranji Trophy and brought him back to the One-day team. Considering Champion’s Trophy is just months away, it had met with a lot of criticism. But Yuvi was not someone who would shy away from challenges. The fire in the belly was still there and he has proved that his exploits in the Ranji Trophy were no fluke. 

“I think the whole domestic season I had been batting well. I have been hitting the ball well. I have worked hard on my fitness and my batting. Diet has been the key, when you pass 30, you have to work harder at your fitness,” said Yuvraj, who turned 35 last month. “Even in the last game, I was hitting the ball well. I just told Sanjay Bangar (the batting coach) that the way I’m hitting the ball, I think I am going to score big.”

A tear or two after completing his century showed how much this century meant to Yuvraj. Dhoni doesn’t show that, though, he must be happy with his contribution. Watching all those moments just from a hundred yards' distance made me nostalgic all through, as most of India must have been yesterday.

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