Yuvraj was named in the Twenty20 squad for the upcoming tour of Australia, marking his return to the international arena after a gap of 20 months.
In his first interview after making the comeback, Yuvraj told ABP News that he is much more fitter than the World Twenty20 two years back that saw him getting dropped from the team.
“There is huge difference in fitness levels between World Cup (in 2012) and now. I have worked a lot on my fitness in the last two years. Hopefully, I will do well in the coming year,” the 34-year-old Yuvraj said.
Asked about the reason for his improved fitness, Yuvraj said, “I went to France two years back for a two-month training in the off-season. There was a lot of focus on running and functional training. And I also got to know a lot about diet. After learning those things, I lost around 8 to 10kgs. I think I have been in a very good shape since then.”
It is obvious that the Australia series is seen as a selection trial for the upcoming World T20, to be held in India in March 2016, and Yuvraj is optimistic that he will make the cut.
“Yes, I will put more efforts and prepare well. We have several domestic games to play. Because this time WT20 is happening in India, we have to prepare well,” he said.
But he is wary of the over enthusiastic people who expects Yuvraj to hit the form right from the word go.
“There are three T20s first up. It depends on how many T20s you are playing. I think you need some time. If people expect you to come and straightaway start hitting sixes and win matches for India, although I also want the same, I think I should get some time to settle down in international cricket and get used to the condition because in domestic, the bowlers are not quite up to the international standard, they (international bowlers) are very high quality bowlers. So you have to get into the groove, you need time,” he said.
Yuvraj was India’s hero of the 2011 World Cup but right after that he was diagnosed with cancer and had to undergo chemo therapy in the US. Though he survived the fatal disease, his body lost all the strength. He made his international return after one year but it was clear that Yuvraj was no way near his best. “The time I have seen has made me stronger. There can’t be a worst phase in life when you are struggling for your life,” he said.
It’s nothing short of an achievement that Yuvraj has made himself a contender for the national team once again.
“I didn’t play international cricket in last one-and-a-half-year. It gets difficult to motivate yourself in domestic cricket but that’s the only way you can make a comeback. I am doing well in domestic cricket this season and I hope to do even better.”
Though he expects to face a lot pressure on return to the international scene, all he asks for is support and some time to settle down.
“Pressure is always there when you are playing international cricket because people expect you win matches for the team and play the kind of innings you had played earlier in your career. I am sure that will come with time.
“As I said, I need some time to settle and support as well. And, as long as I have support from the team management, the selectors and the fans, I am sure results will come,” he signs off.
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