With Yuvraj being in the headlines since his comeback, here's something to think about. Since the 2011 World Cup win, these figures may suggest an idea often thought about for him, but never really implemented. He's been doing more than his bit as a full-fledged bowling option.Since the year 2009, or rather, since the home ODI series against the visiting England team in 2008 (when Pietersen made a rather 'dirty' comment on his bowling), he's clocked several overs in those 57 matches (though he missed ten innings) and has got exactly fifty wickets, at an average of 32 and a strike rate slightly under 40. He's also sent down nearly seven overs an innings, which is a little less than what you can get from a regular bowler- and with the bat, he's averaged a shade under 45, striking a little bit over 90.Code:Mat Inns Overs Mdns Runs Wkts BBI Ave Econ SR 4 5 57 47 326.4 5 1605 50 5/31 32.10 4.91 39.2 1 1
Fair, his batting has been up and down, and also included a phase where his fitness was questioned, but when on song, he's been phenomenal.Code:Mat Inns NO Runs HS Ave BF SR 100 50 0 4s 6s 57 53 10 1910 138* 44.41 2118 90.17 5 12 3 207 44
They can, perhaps, take something out of it. His batting alone isn't good enough for Tests, but if he can also send down at least 15 overs an innings, he's useful. He can do for his team what Gayle, Mathews, Astle and Styris did (or still do) for theirs. He can be the one number six contender who can actually bowl, and India's number six should be a bowling option. Even in his stronger format, 50-over cricket, he can play as a regular bowler, bowling the bulk of the ten overs, instead of sharing overs with other batsmen as a part-timer.
What won't quite work with the idea, across formats, is that the Indian bowling is an area of weakness, and he won't quite help strengthen it. He's not a strike bowler. Besides, they need to play spinners as their main bowlers until they've got a batch of express pacers, so he doesn't quite fit in there again. Most of his best figures come inside India, so he'll struggle outside. Ideally, the Indians can play him as a fifth bowler, and with seven batsmen, benefit at home if local curators provide pitches that are significantly spin-friendly to make him a competent strike bowler.
He's certainly not India's best all-rounder, and frontline bowlers like Irfan and Ashwin are more relevant to the team's balance, but this is definitely an option.