The Second Coming...

All dropped cricketers dream of a second chance. Some get it soon (and keep getting every time they get dropped). For some it takes years and for some it never comes. Robin Singh spent seven years in wilderness after making his debut in Port of Spain against the West Indies in 1989. He was 33 when he reappeared in the 1996 season and this time around he did not waste any opportunities. A player with limited abilities, he knew the importance of commitment and tenacity and played to his strengths.

Jai Prakash Yadav reminds me a great deal of Robin Singh. Not just because he is a big-hitter and bowls wicket-to-wicket military medium pacers. But because, he has shown the same zeal to make up for the lost years in his second coming. He made his debut in 2002 against the West Indies and got dropped after a couple of matches. He is 31 years old [though he says he is 30 :) in the TV clip that they show before he comes to bat] and is now back on the international scene. He forced his way back into the team on the back of a very strong performance (56 wickets and 629 runs) in the domestic season. He went to Sri Lanka, didn't get a game, thankfully didn't get dropped again and finally got a game in Bulawayo. He bowled a decent spell when the kiwis batted. When he went into bat, India were tottering at 43-7. After playing 10 years on the domestic circuit, he did know the importance of this innings. He had waited long enough and he was not going to go back to being the "best player-on-the-ranji-scene but not-good-enough for the national team". He failed to take India home, but showed enough character to suggest that he is hungry for more chances.

He might not go the same distance as Robin Singh, or may be he will - but all the same, he does need to be persisted with. Despite his long locks, he will never be a poster boy (same goes for Rao - not everyone can match Dhoni's locks), and despite his domestic record, he might never get a Test match - but as an utility cricketer for the one-dayers, he has very little competition and the role of the "batting all-rounder" is his for the taking.

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