MS Dhoni’s retirement euphoria, N Srinivasan making ‘Prima Donna’ comments on Suresh Raina, and a sign of a rift between Raina and CSK to follow up the previews for IPL. In the ever-changing cricketing landscape, we, as cricket writers, were having our share of fun.
The fun, however, came - and comes - along with a bagful of deterrents. Take this for example: on Independence Day, after showcasing our over-the-top patriotism, I thought of having a good nap a bit early but a call from Anirudh put all the plans off place. MS Dhoni retired, Suresh Raina retired, and then followed those insane numbers of irrelevant tweets on farewell games. Irfan Pathan suggesting his idea, Gambhir going on a rant and social media being abuzz with #RetireNo7Jersey. Being a responsible media organisation, we did give our best to produce some solid content but one story I would’ve hated to write was the one coming out from Yuvraj Singh.
Not least because the stylish Punjab batsman coming out of retirement would effectively mean the long tribute that I wrote for him last year will now mean nothing. This is one decision any sane cricket writer would want to do away with. Like seriously. Yuvraj was as bad for India in the T20s as MS Dhoni in Test cricket, but no, he has his ego to fill and wants to win the Championship for Punjab in Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy.
Okay, I, for one, have no business detesting Yuvi for what he is up to. But I feel for those youngsters who will have to sit out because a former Indian superstar wants to play cricket. It is like asking Devanand to do Singham movies; It doesn’t work that way, Yuvi.
It would’ve been excusable had he continued only as a mentor without grabbing one spot. It would have been fantastic, actually. Imagine a young player coming through the ranks getting lessons from Yuvi, a modern-day great by every means and whose intuition for white-ball cricket stands out as one of the very best. Imagine Yuvi breaking the shackle and setting an example for others as a high-profile cricketer being involved at the bottom of the food chain. This would be the story for me and my respect for Yuvraj would have gone multifold.
But No. Yuvi wants to play and play longer. I wonder what would be the reaction of BCCI in this case, especially after rigging the IPL contract of a 48-year-old Pravin Tambe only because he had turned up for the Sindhis in the Abu Dhabi League - the same league where Yuvraj participated in, last season. Going a step ahead, Yuvi had already played in Global T20 League Canada after announcing his retirement. So if the BCCI considers his case and allows him to play for Punjab in the upcoming season, all hell will break loose, let me tell you.
If the BCCI supporters come and claim that the stakes in the Indian Premier League are higher as compared to Syed Mushtaq Ali, hello my friend, get lost. You are saying the son who earns more deserves more affection from her mum than the son who earns less. It doesn’t work that way. Any sort of favourable result will only point to the fact that - well, not a fact maybe - Ganguly’s love for Yuvi hasn't diminished a bit and the decision to allow him play for Punjab is nothing but a cull call.
Now, forget everything. Forget the Tambe case, forget the BCCI wants to keep Yuvi happy - well, you never know - and stop him from playing Big Bash League or forget that Yuvi turning up for any other league is a threat to the Indian Premier League. But tell me, why would a certain senior journalist - who of course, interviewed Yuvraj Singh more than the number of times I have used the word “fact” in this story - want him to replace Suresh Raina in Chennai Super Kings. Well, I get that he wants CSK to lose but why would you want an already-boring franchise add yet another boring player to their armoury to make the IPL even more boring? I mean, no spectators and the match being held in Dubai is not enough. Sorry Boomer. Chill.
What Yuvraj wants right now is to become India’s very own Afridi. He can be, surely, in terms of coming out of retirement for as many times as he wants, but I challenge you to hit sixes with the same ferocity as the Pakistani. Jeez, those are the stuff of dreams and 2007 was long lost in the sand of time.
So for god sake, Yuvi, don’t come back to a cricket field. Don’t think you can play for India again just because your traditional enemy - at least, your father thinks he is - is retired from international cricket. There is more to you than that high backlift. Pass on the knowledge but don’t make a joke of your stardom.