VISAKHAPATNAM: Yuvraj Singh would have woken up on Saturday with butterflies in his stomach. He must have been feeling like a teenager before his first international game, all nervous and excited, itching to take the field, ready to tell the cricket world that he belongs.
As the day wore on, Yuvi's excitement grew. The 30-year-old kept replying to pouring messages from across the world and tweeted that this would be "his biggest day after the World Cup". "Few hours to go till I wear my fav jersey... For the cancer society! See you on the field... on the field," Yuvi wrote. All this while he kept his fingers crossed and kept looking at the sky, hoping desperately that rain would stay away.
It was a warm afternoon but by the time the players entered the Dr YSR Reddy ACA-VDCA stadium in the evening, the clouds had invaded the sky. By 6 pm, it started pouring, ruining the evening for 27,800 fans who had braved the rain and made it to the stadium.
In the end, the weather destroyed the stage Yuvraj so desperately wanted to perform on. After the first India-New Zealand T20 international was officially abandoned, Yuvraj shook off his disappointment and walked into the field for a lap of honour, acknowledging the support and prayers of the thousands of fans.
"Never thought I was going to come back and get a chance to play for India again. Kehte hain, dawa se badi dua hoti hai (they say prayer is mightier than medicine). I think that is the reason I am back," Yuvraj told the broadcasters later.
"My body has responded very well, I have worked at the NCA for three months, played a couple of games at the academy and am confident of doing well," he added.
Also disappointed was Yuvi's Punjab teammate Harbhajan Singh, who was slated to make his comeback into the team after a long gap.
The officials called off the match at 8.15 - an hour and 15 minutes after the scheduled start. The match could have started even at 10.15 for a five-overs-a-side game, but the ground had taken such a battering that it was impossible to get it back into shape.
The focus now shifts to Chennai, where the final game will be played before the teams go to Sri Lanka for the World T20 which starts on September 18.
For the record, this is the second wet outing for the New Zealand team at this venue. In 2003 too, their three day game against Board President's XI was badly hit. Play had then been possible only on the final day, with Akash Chopra hitting an unbeaten 103 and Yuvraj Singh staying unconquered on 80. Yuvraj would have remembered, and hoped quietly for an encore. Sadly, the rain had other plans.