x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Yuvraj battles to find his form

Yuvraj Singh is confident that he can work through a disappointing spell with the bat that has left him frustrated.

DUBAI // Yuvraj Singh is confident that he can work through a disappointing spell with the bat that has left him frustrated. "Your career graph is not always going to be the same," the Indian batsman said, who is in the middle of a slump after scoring 1,287 runs at an average of 45.96 in one-dayers last year. "I have got runs, but not big runs. I have just been able to get the 40s and 50s," adds Yuvraj, 26, who has scored 568 runs this year at an average of 28.40.

"I have tried everything. Last year I got 1,200 runs and this year not too many, so the graph does not always stay on the top. "A very important year in my career lies ahead, so I am going to continue working hard. I am pushing hard and hopefully by the end of the season I should be there. I am sure it is going to change soon." That change could come as early as tonight. Yuvraj is in Dubai to attend tonight's LG International Cricket Council Awards 2008, and he has been nominated for the Twenty20 International Performance of the Year. There could not be a better boost than upstaging fellow nominees like Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Chris Gayle and Brett Lee to scoop an award on cricket's greatest night. But Yuvraj disagrees.

"It is not just about winning," he says. "Just being nominated alongside these top players is a great feeling. I was nominated for the one-day awards two years. Getting recognised by the ICC is very important for players giving performances." Dhoni has been nominated for his captaincy in the inaugural ICC WorldTwenty20 in South Africa last year, where he led India to a sensational triumph. The West Indian Gayle smashed a whirlwind 57-ball 177 in the opening match of the ICC WorldTwenty20 and it was the first three-figure score in the international form of the newest version of cricket.

The Australian pace bowler Lee captured a hat-trick against Bangladesh in the same tournament, another first for Twenty20. The tournament, however, is best remembered for Yuvraj's six sixes in an over off the England pacer Stuart Broad. It is a feat that has been performed just three times before, but never in an international match between two Test-playing nations. "It was just a great day in my life - happy memories," he says. "We were in the last two overs [of the Indian innings] and had eight wickets in hand. I had to try to hit every ball. I used the crease really well and I was thinking of hitting everything straight. Unfortunately for Stuart, he could not get his yorkers in. The first six over point was a difficult ball to hit - fortunately I connected."

India comfortably defeated England in that game and went on to steal a thrilling win over Pakistan with a five-run win in the final of the competition. "Those were the 15 most electrifying days of my career," says Yuvraj. "It was a great time. "A lot of people did not expect this [to win] from us. We had a few early hiccups against Pakistan and New Zealand, but we had some great performances." arizvi@thenational.ae