File Photo: AFP
File Photo: AFP

Mumbai: Two cricketers, both entertainers of different kinds, are on the comeback trail. Post pandemic, they have been named by their respective states for the domestic season, which will unfold with the Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 championship from January 2, 2021.

While one is coming out of hibernation, the other is emerging from the shadows after an ignominious ban.

Incidentally, both are World Cup winners.

Yuvraj Singh finds his name among the probables of Punjab while Shantakumar Sreesanth, who was banned by the BCCI for spot fixing, is among the Kerala aspirants.

The Kerala pacer may not be a household name anymore, but he was certainly a force to reckon with. His searing bouncer to Jacques Kallis still rankles in cricket corridors. This was during the India tour of South Africa in 2010 (2nd Test). It was an attempted short delivery that darted towards Kallis and forced him into an awkward position. He tried hard to ride the bounce till the very last moment and even thought of swaying away from the line; but the speed ensured he couldn't do either, and his glove jabbed an easy catch to the point.

Incidentally, cricket buffs regard this as one of the 10 greatest deliveries.

A fresh-as-a-daisy 18-year-old Yuvraj Singh had dominated Australia during the 2000 ICC World Cup quarterfinals in Nairobi. Oz's attack, led by Glenn McGrath and Brett Lee, was made light of as his 80-ball 84, filled with crunching drives and powerful flicks, led India to 265/9. A score that proved too much for the Australians as they were skittled out for 245.

But the ICC T20 World Cup - six sixes off Stuart Broad -- is the stuff of folklore. An altercation with Andrew Flintoff provoked Yuvraj into attacking Stuart belligerently in the penultimate over. He was an unstoppable juggernaut as he hit over long-on, long-off, square-leg, and deep point. Those six sixes surged India to the knockouts and then to the T20 title.

Sreesanth, who was part of the triumphant Indian squads in the 2007 World T20 and the 2011 World Cup, was earlier named in one of the teams for a local T20 tournament to be conducted by Kerala Cricket Association in Alappuzha from December 17.

Yuvraj, the star of India's 2011 World Cup-winning campaign, had announced his retirement last June but he resumed playing for his home state after being approached by Punjab Cricket Association secretary Puneet Bali.

The 39-year-old left-handed batsman, who has played 304 ODIs, 40 Tests and 58 T20Is for India, has been training at the PCA stadium in Mohali and also posted a video of his preparations on social media.

However, age will be a factor with these stalwarts, but just being in the team could be an inspiration for youngsters.

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Free Press Journal