Yuvraj Singh has counted each moment of the past 296 days for this moment to arrive. Dreamer, believer or a fighter? Whatever you may like to call him, his day is here. A sign board near the Vizag airport reads, "Welcome to the city of dreams." For the man who has been on a rollercoaster of nightmares and dreams, the symbolism can't be clearer, says a report in India Today website, adding that Yuvraj Singh is all set to make his much anticipated comeback to the cricket field after undergoing surgery in the US.
Shabnam Singh - Yuvi's mother - and a bunch of his closest buddies disembarked in an overcast Vizag on a special invitation from the man himself. Yuvraj wants all who stayed with him through thick and thin to witness his steps back to where he has always belonged. The only hindrance now seems the rain. "Come on! It can't rain tomorrow!" pleaded a friend. It is the biggest day of their lives. They have seen Yuvraj cry and writhe in unimaginable pain. They have spent days crying themselves. Now, no more tears.
According to a Hindustan Times report, in two hot and humid hours of practice session, Yuvi made his all-round presence felt – batsman, bowler and entertainer. Although he fumbled through his first light-hearted football game with the India bunch for nearly a year, skipper MS Dhoni warmly welcomed him back into the fold.
“Hope he enjoys, that’s what we want. He looks joyful. We missed him for a long time,” Dhoni said.
At the practice nets just 100 metres away, to where he and the team members moved, he waited for his turn with Dhoni, often pulling Virat Kohli’s leg. Barring that, the patience with which he waited for his turn was exemplary. It looked as if there was a routine and he was following it without looking for any leeway. “We want to keep it as normal as possible for him, we don’t want to create any pressure. When people talk about it, it creates pressure,” said Dhoni, eager to put him at ease and tone down the expectations.
Meanwhile Indian Express reports that every eye at the practice arena on Friday was on Yuvraj Singh, if not at the cloudy skies that threaten to overshadow the first T20 between India and New Zealand on Saturday. While captain MS Dhoni too observed the strokes off this fighter — a man returning to an international cricket field for the first time since his battle with cancer — in the nets, he had a slightly different agenda from the others.
With this two-match series being the last match before the fourth edition of the World T20 starting in a few days in Sri Lanka, Dhoni kept his other eye on the rest of the squad — one that looked a little more fleshed out than at any point in the last year or so. On this dress rehearsal of a series, Dhoni said on Friday that: “These two matches are going to be hugely important. Mainly for the fact that the players will get an opportunity to get into the groove ahead of the World T20.” Then, he paused and said: “Also, we would be able to pick the right combination.”
The right combination or the search for it, hence, is going to be the big thinking point for the Indian think-tank before, during and after this T20 series. It could either fall right into place in Visakhapatnam itself — with Yuvraj and Harbhajan Singh finding their ‘groove’ — as Dhoni likes to put it — within the space of one match itself. Or it could take time, a lot longer than the length of this NZ series, with Yuvraj and Harbhajan displaying lack of international match fitness.