Chandigarh, it seems, has this special ability to throw up quality all-rounders. Remember the one who strode on to the cricket field over 20 years ago and captivated crowds worldwide with his bat and ball deeds for the next 14 years? The city’s latest contribution to this fast-dwindling tribe is Yuvaraj Singh, son of Kapil’s one-time bowling partner Yograj Singh.
Those who watched India play Australia in Sri Lanka last month will always remember Yuvaraj’s 58 off 24 balls. It contained five huge sixes and an equal number of fours. Not surprising, as Yuvaraj’s propensity for big hitting is well-known: he once slaughtered Bihar for 358 in the Cooch Behar Trophy. But what came as a revelation in Sri Lanka was his controlled left-arm spin: he snapped crucial wickets and bowled tightly in the middle overs. "There’s no doubting his talent," says Bhupinder Singh Sr, Punjab manager. "Once he gets going, he’s difficult to dislodge."
After his heroics in Colombo, there were suggestions that Yuvaraj be promptly drafted into the senior one-day team, which is bereft of genuine all-rounders at present. That could be worth a try, but Binny advocates caution: "Yuvaraj must be exposed gradually," the U-19 coach says. "He must first play in the Duleep trophy and for India A." For the Chandigarh dasher, the chance to highlight his potential is on hand: the Challenger Trophy and the Ranji Super League matches. They would also provide him with the stage to prove a point: that he’s no flash in the pan, like dad who couldn’t find his bearings after a singular international outing.
Strengths: A hard hitter and a penetrative left-arm spinner.