Adelaide:From Bollywood flicks to batting tips to having his mother by his side, Yuvraj Singh is trying his best to turn around his sagging career.
The batting prince of India's next generation of cricketers, Yuvraj is finding the ground slipping fast under his feet.
The coronation is nowhere near; the banishment after an innings or two is more of a possibility.
His mother Shabnam was with him in Australia for the last eight days. She won't be around to see his 200th match, the one against Sri Lanka here on the 19th of this month.
The match could be a cause of celebration -- or the one when he returns to the starting blocks.
The left-hander has scores of 2, 0, 5, 12, and 0 in his last five Test innings. In one-dayers, it is 2,3 and 6. He has not played 100 balls yet in Tests or one-dayers in this series.
His failure has befuddled everyone, more so the dashing left-hander who just cannot understand why every second shot of his is going up in the air.
Nailing the problem
Yuvraj's dismissals in this series, flicking or driving into the hands of short extra cover or short midwicket, has been a norm. Now an advice has come his way from none other than the master himself, Sachin Tendulkar.
Tendulkar has advised Yuvraj to have a round-handed top grip on his bat: ostensibly it would give him better control on his top hand and stop shots from going into the air.
It's an interesting advice full of common sense but no less significant is Tendulkar's observation about his stance.
Apparently Yuvraj's left shoulder is sagging in his batting stance as he awaits the bowler to deliver.
In Tendulkar's opinion, it is because he is expecting every delivery to be a bouncer hurled at him.
This notion of bowlers testing him out with short-pitched stuff is keeping Yuvraj pinned back on his backfoot.
Consequently, he is late in coming on to the front foot and not always in full control of his drives.
The little master wants Yuvraj to correct this anomaly. Tendulkar feels Yuvraj has no reason to be overtly concerned by bouncers: he must trust his reflexes and he is good enough to tackle them competently.
Turning to Durban for inspiration
Tendulkar has cited him the example of his best, certainly the most famous, innings to date. In the Twenty20 World Cup in South Africa, Yuvraj hit six sixes and all of them, except the last one which he thrashed over point for the maximum, were delivered off the front foot.
It was not, Tendulkar has reasoned, as if he was batting on a sub-continent pitch. This innings came about in Kingsmead, Durban, and against a frontline international fast bowler Stuart Broad.
One of Tendulkar's advice, offered early in this tour, Yuvraj has not been able to follow to the hilt. Tendulkar wants him to bowl more and more in the nets in order to gauge the pace of the wickets in Australia but the young left-hander, because of the knee injury he suffered in Perth, has not been able to put it to practice.
Yuvraj's left-arm spinners require him to twist his front knee at the point of delivery and the Punjab left-hander is averse to unsettle it again. As things are, it is stopping him from fielding in his vaunted position at cover point.
India desperately needed him in that position in Canberra on a slugging pitch where playing square was the best route for batsmen to score runs.
Relaxing ahead of Adelaide
Yuvraj apparently does not feel that his failures are because of a clouded and hesitant mind. Yet he is taking time off to watch a few light-hearted Bollywood flicks, 'Partner' and 'Halla Bol' among others, in order to relax ahead of critical encounters in Adelaide.
Adelaide is critical for India's campaign, as well as it is for Yuvraj's immediate future. Mahendra Singh Dhoni has so far defended his deputy stoutly but the sight of the skipper striding out to the wicket with nine overs remaining against Sri Lanka in Canberra yesterday was a giveaway of slipping confidence.
Seniors such as Sourav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid have been sacrificed for lesser failures. Not long ago, Yuvraj's promise made the Indians readjust their batting order to the extent that Rahul Dravid, against his wishes, was made to open in the first two Tests of the present tour. All this goodwill would be a thing of the past if the Punjab dasher does not fire this week.