Time to look ahead: Yuvraj
Ahmedabad, Nov 20: Belief is a strong word. What you believe is generally what you go on to achieve. Yuvraj Singh’s comeback into India’s Test team proves that. While the world sympathised with him for being afflicted by an ailment as deadly as cancer, Yuvraj was busy in his attempt to throw it out of his system. While all wished he could get back on his feet, Yuvraj was already preparing to set his feet on the cricket field again. He believed more than others did. And today he is playing Test cricket for India again.
“It’s wonderful to be back in whites. I cherish this experience and playing Test cricket for India is something that I have cherished all my life,” he told bcci.tv after India’s win in the first Test against England. Yuvraj made an impact in his very first innings after his comeback with a 74-run knock, before falling to a full-toss from Samit Patel.
“It was a good start but I should actually have scored a hundred in the first innings,” Yuvraj said. “I was really upset when I got out on 74. Once you get set, you have to go and score a big one. But unfortunately I couldn’t do that.”
This was Yuvraj’s first Test match exactly after a year. He last played against West Indies at the Eden Gardens in November 2011, shortly before the detection of his lung cancer. A lot has changed in these 12 months. But what has remained constant is Yuvraj’s self-confidence.
“Not really,” he replied when asked if he experienced some first-match jitters before this Test. “I was confident of doing well because I had good all-round performances in my last two domestic games. (He scored 208 in a Duleep Trophy match and did well in a warm-up match against England with 59 runs and 5/94).
Yuvraj has always been an enigma in Test cricket. Those who know his abilities as a cricketer feel he has underachieved in the longest format of the game. Yuvraj doesn’t deny the charges with explanations or excuses but he also doesn’t want to look back. This is a fresh start for him. “There’s no point looking back and thinking about what people think of me. I’m back into the team and it’s time for me to look forward,” he said.
As he takes a fresh guard and aims to cement his place in the Test team all over again, he has a few of his younger colleagues to look at for motivation. Yuvraj, who is particularly close to Virat Kohli, said there’s a lot he can learn from the 24-year-old.
“I think his growth has been phenomenal. He’s one of the fittest guys in the team. He’s lost a lot of weight and has gotten stronger. He has learnt how to convert 60s and 70s into big hundreds. He works really hard in whatever he does. His attitude towards the game is brilliant. At this age, his focus and determination are worth watching and learning from. He will go from strength to strength.”
Besides Virat, there are other things that have changed in India’s Test team since Yuvraj left. The names Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman are no more on the team list. Their exit makes Yuvraj one of the senior members of the team, a tag he has never had attached to his name in the longest format.
“I know there’s a lot of pressure when you know that after guys like Dravid and Laxman have left you are a senior batsman,” Yuvraj acknowledged. “It is a huge responsibility because you are expected to fill in their gaps. I’ll try my best to do that.”
They say, what doesn’t kill you, only makes you stronger. And for a man who’s just defeated cancer, Test cricket should not be a big beast to conquer.