One of the first questions that popped into most minds when Yuvraj Singh was released by the Delhi Daredevils would have been "Will he go for big bucks at the IPL 2016 Player Auction?"
After a solid domestic season, those chances of earning big money in the IPL increased slightly for Yuvraj, before that India callup changed everything. This was Yuvraj's chance to show the world that he still had it in him; he could still hit those big sixes; he could still win matches single-handedly.
After putting on a solid performance with the ball in the first two matches, with it showing just how valuable an all-rounder he can be, Yuvraj finally got his opportunity to shine with the bat in the third T20 against Australia.
For nine balls, it looked like that tentative cannot-hit-bat-on-ball Yuvraj had returned, and then, with a flick of a switch, the left-hander turned it on, with a four and a six virtually taking India to a win and a series whitewash over Australia.
It was not the most convincing of innings from Yuvraj, but in those two hits, he showed his true value – the ability to win matches, even when not at his best. Winning matches, after all, is all that matters for the franchises in the IPL, and in Yuvraj, you have a player born to do just that, even if his powers might be on the wane.
Yuvraj might not go for the Rs 16 crore Delhi Daredevils paid to get him at the last auction, but the left-hander will be there or thereabouts in the marquee list of big-money names. It is just a matter of finding the right fit.
Perhaps, one of the two new franchises – Rising Pune Supergiants or Team Rajkot – might take a punt, because Yuvraj does not just bring a side value on the field, he gives them great visibility and marketability off it as well.
Yuvraj remains one of the big names in Indian cricket, and the best way to grab a fanbase quickly is by signing players who are popular. With the Pune franchise already drafting MS Dhoni to their ranks, Team Rajkot, who went for several all-rounders in the IPL 2016 draft, might do well to grab the superstar all-rounder, especially if he becomes available at a decent fee.
Delhi Daredevils might also go in for the left-hander again, hoping for a better bargain, while Yuvraj will lend some serious firepower and an extra bowling option to another of his former teams – RCB.
The Kings XI Punjab bid aggressively for the 34-year-old in the last auction, so expect them to do the same again this time around, as they look to bring their hometown boy back into the fold.
After this encouraging series for India, Yuvraj should be in the big bucks again come IPL 2016 Player Auction time on Saturday, with the only question being "Which of the eight teams will sign him?"