The eleventh IPL bandwagon has started rolling with the season's auction. We have seen teams at both ends of the spectrum- Chennai keeping almost the entire squad intact, and Kings XI and Delhi opting for an outright overhaul. One of the key players released by Kings XI was Punjab's local boy and India's shining star, Yuvraj Singh.
After a dismal season that yielded just 65 runs, even a few fans were apprehensive about Yuvraj's prospects of finding a buyer. However, he has yet again proven his naysayers wrong, as he has been picked by Mumbai Indians at his reduced base price of 1 cr.
At the age of 37, quite a few eyebrows were raised at his purchase. Only time can tell whether he justifies his price tag but from a franchise's viewpoint, they have certainly hit the sweet spot, and here's why:
If Yuvraj does find his past mojo, it has been proved time and again that he turns into an unstoppable juggernaut, tearing up attacks at will. This would require some factor of luck too, as his confidence would evidently be down after the past season and a string of uninspiring performances in the domestic season.
Certain decisions of his past team management would also have aided this, though given his form then, they can't be castigated for that. The Mumbai management has traditionally been more supportive of their players (like retaining Kieron Pollard after a similarly disappointing last season).
For any chances of a late flourish, Yuvraj could seldom get a team better than them. In all probabilities, Yuvraj will get 3-4 games to prove his mettle, after which younger players may usurp his spot.
On the other hand, if another disappointing season is on the cards, the fans and Yuvraj himself would draw some respite from the fact that he got one last chance to sign off on a high. Given the astute player he is, Yuvraj himself would be feeling that his days as an active player are getting numbered.
With waning reflexes and an uncharacteristic lethargy on the field, age has finally caught up to him. However, his mere presence can draw flocks of crowds to the stadiums. The Mumbai fanbase is assured to soar, because more than a player, Yuvraj is a brand name, and a feeling nurtured by millions in India.
This alone can reflect as an upsurge in the team's brand value and overall revenue. He is one of the last vestiges of the millennials' feel of cricket, and with their arch-rivals Chennai Super Kings harbouring the other two (Dhoni and Raina), the presence of Yuvraj in the camp makes the perfect business sense for Mumbai.
The plethora of tweets, advertisements, and videos which have popped up in the Mumbai Indians official page is a testament to the observation that Mumbai is sure to make full use of his fan base. Whether Yuvraj sets the fields on fire or not, the Mumbai franchise is sure to set their cash registers ringing!