“I hope you understand that I’ve been busy from early in the morning... With the Kolkata 25K first and, then, there was an event with Puma... I’ve just reached the airport,” Yuvraj told this Reporter.
For the next 20-odd minutes, Yuvraj, back in an India squad for the first time after the 2014 World T20, in Bangladesh, answered questions.
Except one, which was of a personal nature, Yuvraj was game for the rest.
How would you describe your feelings on being recalled after 20 months?
To be honest, I’m a bit disappointed that I am back only in the T20I squad, not for the ODIs... However, there’s happiness that I’m back after quite a while... The disappointment is personal and I hope I’m not misunderstood and that nothing at all is taken out of context.
Of course, returning to the ODIs, too, would have allowed you to adjust better for the conditions in Australia, for the T20Is come later...
Yes... Conditions in Australia are challenging and the T20 format is even more demanding... It’s such a compressed affair that there’s little time to adjust... The 20-over game isn’t easy... That said, I’m positive, for that’s the way I am. I have the confidence to try and do my best in the opportunities I get... The dressing room needs to have belief in me. I’m sure I’ll get the support I need.
Do you intend going to Australia before the T20I players go there officially?
I can’t take that call. I’ve got to follow the Board’s advice. Now that I’ve been selected, I can’t do things in my individual capacity.
Are you, at this stage, looking beyond the three T20Is in Australia?
I’m focused on what I’ve been picked for.
But, surely, you’ll be under pressure in Australia?
Pressure is always there. That doesn’t change in the career of a sportsman.
Did you, at any time, think that the 2015-16 season would be a make-or-break one for you?
(Pauses) I’ve been playing first-class cricket from 1996-97 and first played for India in 2000... But, yes, I knew I needed a good tournament. Needed to give off my best. I’ve always valued domestic cricket.
The ongoing 50-over Vijay Hazare competition turned out to be that “good tournament”...
Certainly. Now, I hope I can continue in this form (for Punjab) in the knockout stage. Besides getting the runs, I also feel good from within.
[Chronologically, the 34-year-old Yuvraj’s scores have been: 93, 36, 36, 78 not out, 98. In the quarters, Punjab face Himachal, on Wednesday.]
It’s about being in good space in the mind, isn’t it?
Would it not be fair to suggest that the T20Is in Australia mark the start of your India career all over again?
A fresh start or a new beginning is the way I’d put it... Wouldn’t say my India career is going to start all over again. It began 15 years ago.
Today, are you more indebted to some who’ve helped you stay motivated?
(Emotionally) My mom, Shabnam, always comes first... I remain grateful to my Guruji... My close circle of friends who’ve never lost faith in me. It’s not easy to sit out, but it helps enormously when those around you keep encouraging you.
You can’t forget your fans, can you?
They’ve consistently supported me... Each time that I wasn’t picked, plenty of people would comment in the social media space. It’s nice to know that there are fans who stay loyal through the ‘downs’ in one’s career as well.
Some words on Ashish Nehra, who has also made a comeback, after over four years at that...
I’m glad you asked... I’m more happy that Ashish is back. The guy has given so much to Indian cricket... He’s battled injuries, made comebacks... I’d say he’s been the best bowler in the IPL for the past two years. Ashish deserved to be back. I hope this comeback of his is memorable.
A few questions on Hazel (Keech), your fiancee... How long have you known her?
About a year-and-a-half.
You’ve had the image of a playboy, what made you decide that Hazel was the one best suited to be your wife?
Now, that’s getting into personal space. I’d rather not answer this one.
Fair enough... You chose to propose in Bali last month. Did you choose the venue for a reason?
Wanted to surprise Hazel, that’s it.
And, Hazel straightaway said ‘yes’...
My mind had been made up, but I wanted Hazel to agree, too. She did.
Your mom told me that Hazel doesn’t follow cricket at all. Is it actually so?
Thankfully so... I already have mom who keeps saying ‘beta, seedhe khel’ or something to that effect... I didn’t want somebody else very close to say the same things... If I tell Hazel ‘we’re three down for 30’, she’ll probably say ‘that’s great’... So, you can make out just how closely she follows cricket.
But, surely, Hazel must be delighted that you’ve made an India comeback...
She’s very happy, of course.
The final one... Is it true that the wedding will take place in February?
Please, this has to be the final question as I’ve got to board the flight (to Mumbai)... Not in February... The date hasn’t been worked out, but we’re looking to marry at the end of 2016... You’ll be informed.
Courtesy: The Telegraph