Did Yuvraj Singh’s blistering 32-ball 53 against Pakistan in Edgbaston on Sunday come as a surprise? Perhaps, it shouldn’t have. In the last global 50-over tournament Singh had played in, he was adjudged the Man of the Series with 362 runs and 15 wickets in nine matches.
Yes, of course, we are talking about the 2011 World Cup, a tournament which Yuvraj Singh well and truly dominated. His numbers, both with bat and ball, make for brilliant reading. Undoubtedly, he was one of the main catalysts for India’s historic, stirring triumph that year.
It is, however, an anomaly that Singh is playing a 50-over ICC tournament after six long years. In the middle, of course, was his inspiring fight with cancer and a loss of form which kept him out of the national team. He was not included in the squad for the 2013 Champions Trophy or the 2015 World Cup. But the fact that he’s managed to make a comeback and is representing India again in a global tournament is mark of his immense fighting capabilities.
Yet, whether it is 20 or 50 overs, when it comes to ICC tournaments, he has been a behemoth. Even in the period between 2010 and 2017, Singh was a fixture in all of India’s World Twenty20 campaigns. And while everyone remembers his painful vigil in the 2014 World Twenty20 final, that was perhaps the only bad tournament, he had with both bat and ball.
In the 2010 World Twenty20, Singh had a batting strike rate of 105.71 and a bowling economy rate of 7.5. In the 2012 edition, his batting figures weren’t great but take a peek at his bowling figures: eight wickets in 13.4 overs in five matches at an average of just over 10 and an economy rate of 5.92.
Coming back to 50-overs cricket, Singh has failed to score a fifty in just two tournaments he’s played in: the 2004 and the 2006 Champions Trophy. Yet, even in the 2007 World Cup, widely considered India’s nadir on the global stage, Singh was one of the brightest performers with a batting average of 45.33 in three matches.
Overall, Yuvraj Singh’s figures, with both and ball, in global 50-over tournaments are quite awe-inspiring. The flamboyant left-hander has 1062 runs in 37 matches with ten fifties and a century at an average of 46.17. He has taken 23 wickets in that time at an average of 27.04 and an economy rate of 4.84.
As his former teammate Harbhajan Singh wrote in his Champions Trophy column, “The kind of innings he played was simply mind-blowing. That is Yuvi for you. When it comes to ICC tournaments, I doubt I can think of any other player that rises to the occasion as frequently and as brilliantly as Yuvraj”.
When it comes to ICC tournaments, he truly is a behemoth you cannot contain.