Yuvraj Singh’s iconic role in India’s 2011 World Cup victory remains etched in cricketing history. Despite entering the tournament with low form, Yuvraj emerged as the Player of the Series, contributing significantly with both bat and ball. He scored 362 runs and took 15 wickets throughout the competition. Even after twelve years, India is still searching for a successor to Yuvraj Singh, especially with an upcoming World Cup on the horizon. This ongoing discussion about who can fill his shoes gained momentum during a rain-interrupted India vs. Pakistan Asia Cup Super-Four match.
During this debate, former India cricketers Sanjay Manjrekar and Waqar Younis discussed whether all-rounders Ravindra Jadeja and Hardik Pandya can replicate Yuvraj’s role in the 2011 World Cup. While Waqar expressed confidence in Hardik’s skills, Manjrekar held a different perspective. Waqar’s confidence in Hardik was bolstered by his brilliant innings of 87 off 90 balls, which bore similarities to the kind of innings MS Dhoni used to play in challenging situations. Partnering with Ishan Kishan, Hardik orchestrated a 138-run partnership, showcasing a mix of caution and aggression with seven fours and a six, inching closer to his maiden ODI century.
“Look at what Hardik and Jadeja bring to the table. They are well equipped with both bat and ball. Especially Hardik Pandya – the way he batted against Pakistan – I think he is a really destructive batter at No. 6. Any team would love to have someone like him. He is aggressive, and now as we saw in the previous match, he is very sensible and smart,” the former Pakistan pacer told the host broadcaster.
“He played like a champion. He took his time and when the time was right, he pushed his natural game. I feel that these 2 at No. 6 and 7 will give India that push. All they want to do is not lose early wickets. If you give these 2 last 10 overs, they can chase the game pretty quickly.”
Despite their recent heroics and Jadeja’s consistency, Manjrekar remained skeptical about whether this all-round duo could replicate Yuvraj’s role. He raised concerns about Hardik’s ability to complete his full 10-over quota while bowling. Although the combined skill set of Hardik and Jadeja might surpass Yuvraj’s all-round abilities, neither has consistently matched Yuvraj’s contributions with the bat. Thus, the debate continues regarding whether India’s current crop of all-rounders can truly step into Yuvraj Singh’s shoes, given the unique role he played in the 2011 World Cup triumph.
“Yuvraj is arguably India’s best white-ball batter. He could win games and was in a different league. Hardik and Jadeja, with due respect, aren’t quite there. These 2 are far better bowlers than Yuvraj Singh but because that one discipline was so discipled…” stated Manjrekar, before Waqar cut him off. “Not even Hardik Pandya? With the kind of batting that he has shown. I am not comparing them, but the intention is there,” stated the former Pakistan captain.
“He has the potential but when I see him at this stage, it’s not a guarantee that he will come and bowl all 10 overs like one of the mainstream bowlers. I see him as more of a batting all-rounder and he batted really well in the last game. So yes, they have this combined skill to make the kind of contribution made but one discipline of Yuvraj Singh, like I said, was at a different level. In pitches that help Jadeja the bowler, his batting will come through but Hardik the batter doesn’t need a bad ball or loose ball to decide that this needs to go,” he mentioned.
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