Yuvraj Singh is the forgotten man of Indian cricket. The talismanic allrounder who led India to victory in the 2011 World Cup, has seen life turn a full circle. After being afflicted from a rare germ cell cancer, Yuvraj has not played for Team India for the last one and a half years. At 33, his chances of representing Team India may be virtually over but that has not diminished his passion for the game when he was readying himself for Punjab’s Ranji Trophy match against Maharashtra at the Wankhede, the same venue where he had the best memories of his life after India beat Sri Lanka in the final of the ICC World Cup in 2011.
‘I have learnt what life is all about. It (life) is a great teacher. One moment one can be at the top of the world, then comes another moment when things can change drastically. One has to be prepared for such eventualities,” said Yuvraj.
When asked what keeps him motivated to play the game, Yuvraj said that it was his love of cricket. “Frankly, I think what keeps me going now is my passion for the game. I have played the game from a young age and the thrill of playing it still motivates me,” he said.
Is he still eyeing a recall to Team India? ‘Well to be honest I still entertain hopes of playing for my country again. After all I have served my country well and I feel that if I start to perform well again at the domestic level, there is chance,” he said.
Yuvraj also said that he had put a lot of effort in working hard on his conditioning. “Look I have worked very hard on my conditioning and have been training very hard in the off season. I have put extra hours in the gym and also on the field,” he said.
But then things in domestic cricket are not easy. For someone like Yuvraj who is used to performing under the lights and vociferous crowds, domestic cricket is not exactly the place where someone like him revels. A former international cricketer said, “For someone like Yuvi who is used to playing the big knocks under the floodlights and huge crowds, the Ranji Trophy is something of a letdown. In domestic cricket, there are no big crowds, no electrifying atmosphere and worst of all the bowling standard is not upto the mark, So I think the domestic cricket is not the ideal place for him (Yuvraj) to make his comeback but then there are not many options available for him,” said the cricketer.
When asked whether Yuvraj stood a chance to return to Team India for the T20 World Cup which will be held in India next year, the cricketer said the southpaw’s chances were very slim. “Realistically speaking I don’t think he has any chance to make it back. It’s not the age that goes against him, also the fact that there are so many youngsters who have better credentials than him. I also think that fitness is one area of concern when Yuvi will be considered for selection.”
On his part, Yuvraj said that during these tough times it was his self belief which kept him going. “I just tell myself that I should not lose the self belief. It is so important for a sportsperson to have faith in their abilities. Things may not be going well but then a sportsman should realise that all is not lost yet. I am a person who has a lot of faith in my abilities,” he said.