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    IPL 7: Make-or-break time for Yuvraj Singh

    Subjected to global censure for his failure in the ICC World Twenty20 final, India's World Cup hero Yuvraj Singh is under immense pressure to perform in the Indian Premier League (IPL) - on which may also hinge his chances of playing the 2015 World Cup.

    Royal Challengers Bangalore skipper Virat Kohli urged his bosses to get Yuvraj at the players' auction. The franchise heeded Kohli's advice and made Yuvraj richer by Rs. 14 crore - the costliest buy of the auction.

    But since then, Yuvraj's career has gone downhill. Thrown a rope by the selectors for World T20, Yuvraj - other than a half-century against Australia - had a disastrous campaign, which ended on an even painful note.

    Batting during the crucial deaths overs in the final against Sri Lanka, Yuvraj scratched around for 21 balls scoring just 11 and cost India the momentum Kohli had provided. That was regarded by many as the chief cause of India's six-wicket loss, though many current and former players threw their weight behind Yuvraj.

    "He was just trying his best. That's the most you can do," said skipper MS Dhoni after the final, while discarded India opener Gautam Gambhir termed Yuvraj as India's "greatest match-winner till date".

    However, fans' short memory took a violent turn, with a few pelting stones at Yuvraj's house, forgetting the joys he had brought to his countrymen by playing a key role in winning two World Cups - the 2007 World Twenty20 and the 2011 ODI World Cup.

    But Yuvraj has stage set to answer his critics on the field.

    At IPL 7, he is part of a franchise that depends more on its batting than bowling. Virat Kohli, Chris Gayle, AB de Villiers and Yuvraj Singh form a frightening quartet that can take any opposition apart.

    Yuvraj, though, will have to ensure that he hits form early to retain his place in the eleven. Failures in first few matches will hit Yuvraj hard and force RCB to look for a replacement. And that may also dent his chances of making a comeback in time for India's World Cup defence in Australia and New Zealand.

    The 32-year-old, who won his battle against a life-threatening cancer, may still have 2-3 years of cricket left in him; but the only thing that will keep that hope alive is success in IPL 7.

    IPL stats: 70 matches, 1475 runs, 66* highest, average 25, strike rate 130.76, 5 fifties, 0 hundreds