In the first of an occasional series, we at the Reverse Sweep will name and shame those cricketers that we believe to be massively over-rated.
We start with Yuvraj Singh, the Indian and Kings XI Punjab 'all-rounder' who somehow gets regularly bracketed with the great Indian batsmen of the modern era; namely Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Sourav Ganguly, VVS Laxman and Virender Sehwag. In our opinion, Yuvraj is not fit to tie their bootlaces.
Admittedly, Yuvraj has some talent and there has been the odd sporadic good innings in test, ODI and T20I cricket - just ask Stuart Broad about the latter after Yuvraj smited six sixes off him during the World T20 in 2007. The innings he played in support of Sachin Tendulkar when India chased down 387 to beat England at Chennai in 2008 was another example, but on the whole he has not justified his talent and inflated ego.
His test career has been disappointing with an average under 36 and only three hundreds in his 33 tests. When you consider the fact that most of these tests have been played on the batting paradises of the subcontinent that average is only worth about 30 to an English or Australian player. By sheer coincidence that is what Graeme Swann and Nathan Hauritz average.
Yuvraj's record in ODI is better with 12 hundreds in his 250 ODI (at just over 37) and he has a good strike rate of 88. But it is hardly the record of a world-beater and another point for the prosecution in the accusation that he is nothing more than an average player. His T20I record is the best of the lot, with a strike rate of 161 and an average of 39. But just ask Kings XI Punjab fans if they think that Yuvraj is worthy of his reputation following his on and off-field performances this season. More of that later.
Kevin Pietersen once labelled Yuvraj a 'pie-chucker' with the ball and then promptly got out to him. But the stats seem to back KP up. Eight test wickets at 54, 82 ODI wickets at over 40 and only five T20I wickets hardly puts him in the Shane Warne category, or even Marcus North's for that matter.
But no-one rates Yuvraj more highly than Yuvraj himself. And it is that arrogance that made him our first 'Over-rated Cricketer' and also contributed to his dire season with Kings XI Punjab. He appears to have an ego the size of Jupiter and has clearly been influenced by the bollywood style celebrity cult currently surrounding Indian cricket thanks to the. But he is not as good as he seems to think he is (although that would be impossible) and if the numerous rumours are true, has unsettled KXIP to such an extent that he was reportedly the main reason for their dismal season. Apparently he sulked about not having the captaincy, appeared disinterested and unfit, and ruined the karma created by King Kumar.
If even some of this was true, Yuvraj needs to buck his ideas up and look to Tendulkar, Dravid and MS Dhoni as examples of how to cope with fame and handle yourself in front of an adoring public. Only then will Yuvraj justify his talent and lose the over-rated tag.