11:11 am - Tuesday January 19, 2021

I may not play for India again, but it’s a goal: Yuvraj Singh

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New Delhi: Yuvraj Singh, Player of the Tournament in the 2011 World Cup, has admitted to having mulled over the fact that he has played his last match for India as he struggles for opportunities to force his name into the reckoning for India’s defence of the title in Australia and New Zealand next year.

Speaking to Wisden India, a reflective Yuvraj opened up on the tough times he has faced over the past three years as well as the road ahead, particularly his goal to return to India blues again. “Of course, there is a possibility that I may never play for India again. I have considered that,” he said. “But there is also the possibility that I might play for India again, and as long as I believe that I can come back and I have it in me, I’m going to keep pushing myself.”

Dropped from the ODI team after a poor tour of South Africa in December 2013, Yuvraj last played for India in the ICC World Twenty20 in April, where he managed just one half-century in five innings and was widely criticised for his go-slow innings in the final against Sri Lanka. A decent IPL followed for Royal Challengers Bangalore (376 runs, five wickets) but it wasn’t enough to earn Yuvraj a place in India’s limited-overs squads since.

“It’s always disappointing when you don’t make it to the side,” he said. “But, that said, the last two years have been patchy, up and down. So it’s not my call whether I should be picked. Hopefully things will change, and I will be picked again, otherwise life will be very depressing. I can only try and do my best.”

Yuvraj’s most recent outing was for North Zone in the Duleep Trophy semi-finals in Mohali last week, his first major match since the IPL, where he made 47 in his only innings. In July, he scored a boundary-laden century at Lord’s for Rest of the World against the MCC. The lack of matches, the 32-year-old admitted, made it tougher for him to push for a recall in a World Cup season.

“I can’t really speak about selection. What is the best opportunity that I have? Duleep Trophy, the Ranji one-dayers and whatever other games I can get,” he said. “As I said, if I can make it to the squad, it will be a great story. It will be awesome to come back and play for India in a World Cup again. If it doesn’t happen, life goes on, and it will be hard to accept, but I’ll have to accept it.

“There will be anxiety because the World Cup is close by and there aren’t too many opportunities in domestic games in the lead up. But, eventually, what can you do? I can only prepare as well as possible, try and take the opportunities I get. The young guys in the Indian team are doing well. Let’s see how it goes.”

Three of Yuvraj’s former India team-mates, Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir and Harbhajan Singh, are also on the sidelines after prolonged slumps in form. According to Yuvraj, each of them stay in touch and bond over the good days when they were part of a successful Indian team, helping win the 2007 ICC World Twenty20 and the 2011 World Cup.

“We talk. We always talk about the time we spent playing for India,” he said. “We all know that those were the most amazing years of our lives. But, life still goes on, even when you’re not in the team. You just have to be positive and keep working hard. We understand why we play the game, the love for the sport. We have to play for that reason rather than think only about what people are seeing.”

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