New Delhi: Yuvraj Singh has been out of Indian team for close to two years now but whenever Team India struggles in the middle overs of an ODI game or fails to score quickly in a Twenty20 match, he is back in the conversation instantly.
An unfortunate turn of event hampered Yuvraj’s career when he was at peak. A lung cancer forced him out of cricket for one and a half year but, luckily, he successfully battled cancer and returned to cricket. But he is yet to reach anywhere near the form that helped India lift the World Cup trophy in 2011 and made him Man of the Tournament.
Though Yuvraj hasn’t been able attain the same level again since then, he hasn’t not given up the hopes of returning to the national side. The southpaw is a regular feature in the Punjab Ranji Trophy team and has played a couple of important knocks this season. With World Twenty20 happening in India next year, all the eyes will be on the selectors whether they pick Yuvraj in the squad or not.
"In 2011, I was on top of that mountain but when I was diagnosed with cancer I was down in a ditch. It will take some time to claw back to the top," Yuvraj told the TOI during a Ranji Trophy match against Tamil Nadu.
“I am lucky that I have been able to play again. It was unfortunate to be diagnosed with lung cancer at the peak of my career. I was lucky to be in one of best hospitals in the USA and am grateful to my doctors and the almighty for my recovery. It's a closed chapter now. I would rather get on with life and try and get back to where I once was. I have had some very tough years but I have still managed to keep my body in shape.”
Yuvraj said that it wouldn’t be easy to make a comeback but if he did, he wanted the selectors to give him enough opportunities to settle down.
“It's not easy but I would definitely try to return to the national side if there is an opportunity. If I make the grade again, I should be given a decent period of time to perform. I had missed cricket for about a year and a half and right off the bat people wanted me to perform the same way I used do in the past,” he said.
“I am not saying cut me some slack. I am only saying if I get an opportunity, I should be given some time to settle down,” he added.
It is well known that Yuvraj and Virat Kohli are very close friends and on many occasions both of them have spoken highly about each other. Virat is currently leading the Indian team against South Africa and has won his third consecutive Test series. Yuvraj expressed happiness on his friends success and said that Virat needs to be give time to mature into a better captain.
“Virat needs some time to mature as a skipper. I'm really glad to see him leading the team and winning the Test series against South Africa is a big achievement for him. I'm sure Virat will emerge as one of the better captains,” he said.
“He has been very aggressive all his life and it's not easy for him change his attitude overnight. People go after him saying he's too aggressive but yes he is an aggressive young man and wants to do well for his country. Is that wrong? You have to give him a little time. He also knows that his aggression gets the best out of him.”
Yuvraj also quashed rumours of a strained relationship with MS Dhoni saying that Mahi would be his ‘friend forever’. Before the 2015 World Cup, Yuvraj's father Yograj Singh had stated that Dhoni was responsible for Yuvraj’s axing from the World Cup squad.
“Look, I don't have any control over what my father says. But I have never said Mahi had thrown me out of the team. I want to make it very clear that we are very good friends and I have never had any problems with Mahi. He is a friend and will remain forever,” he said.