Yuvraj Singh sent a strong message to the national selectors with a brutal 89-ball 123 to set up a 77-run win for India A against West Indies A in the first of the three-match unofficial ODI series at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium here on Sunday.
Playing in his first competitive game in four months, Yuvraj set the stage on fire with a captain’s knock that was studded with eight fours and seven sixes. It was Yuvraj’s explosive knock that took India A to a massive 312 for four in 42 overs after West Indies A decided to field.
The southpaw was well supported by Mandeep Singh (67) and Yusuf Pathan, who struck an unbeaten whirlwind 70 off 32 balls, hitting four fours and six sixes. The West Indies A innings folded up for 235 runs in 39.1 overs after Narsingh Deonarine and Andre Russell struck an indentical 57 each. It was a clinical show by the India A pacers as Sumit Narwal and R Vinay Kumar picked up two wickets each along with the spin duo of Rahul Sharma and Pathan.
Earlier in the day, India A lost two wickets for 47 runs with both the openers Unmukt Chand (1) and Robin Uthappa (23) failing to make the most of the opportunity. Yuvraj and Mandeep then added 100 runs for the third-wicket in what was a pure display of power hitting. Mandeep played the role of second fiddle perfectly while Yuvraj went after the West Indies A bowlers.
Mandeep, who hit seven fours and a six, was well set for a big score but was foxed by a tossed up delivery from Nikita Miller that castled him. West Indies A might have hoped that wicket would slow down the flow of runs. But to their surprise, Yusuf also joined Yuvraj in power hitting that left the visitors without any hope. Yuvraj’s destructive innings was ended by a full toss delivery from leggie Nkrumah Bonner and Ronford Beaton took a skier at long on. But by then the writing was on the wall for West Indies A.
Yuvraj along with discarded seniors Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir and Zaheer Khan have been handed lifelines by the selectors by including them in the India A side across the formats against the West Indies A.
Yuvraj hasn’t been picked for the Tests and is the only one among the four to feature in the limited-overs games. Earlier this year, he was dropped after the home series against England due to fitness issues. Yuvraj and Zaheer had trained extensively at Brive La Gaillarde, a town in France, for six weeks to get back their fitness.