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Day I play only 50% of my shots, I hope my batting will improve: Yuvraj Singh

Wednesday, 20 February 2013 - 9:00am IST

Yuvraj Singh tells Deba Prasad Dhar that Indian youngsters need backing during this transition phase

It’s always hard to get a slice of Yuvraj Singh. The interview requests never seem to end — one understands why cricketers would rather be incommunicado. DNA however caught hold of him in the city on Tuesday.  The elegant southpaw was at a conference to announce the opening of registrations for the 2013 Puma Urban Stampede. Excerpts from an interaction:

Let’s say you have five more years of cricket. What would you like to achieve during this period?
I’ve played plenty of one-dayers and T20s, but I would definitely like to play a few Test matches in the next four years.

Why haven’t you been able to carry your ODI form into the Tests?
I just feel that when I was supposed to be peaking, I got stuck with a lot of injuries. And after that I was diagnosed with cancer, so it’s been pretty hard on me. I’ve come back and played only three Tests and I can’t judge myself that way. If you play about 10 to 12 games, you can assess yourself. Maybe, lack of opportunities...I mean I’m not saying I haven’t got my chances, but I tried my best. Hopefully, everything will fall into place some day.

Would the numbers have looked different had you been given, let’s say, two full series?

I can’t comment on how many games I should have played. All I’m saying is that you can judge your performance only if you play an entire season.

You batted so well in your comeback innings at Motera (against England). What happened after that?
You know what happened after that. Ab main aap ko yahan baithe, baithe nahin samjha sakta (I can’t explain it you here).

Your father Yograj Singh had once said that he would keep Gary Sobers and Vivian Richards’s pictures by your bed during your formative years. Do these two cricketers influence your game at the subconscious level?
Viv Richards was my father’s favourite player. I haven’t seen much of him. He was a great batsman of his era. I’ve grown up watching Sachin Tendulkar who’s been my idol. And I’ve played with him for 10 to 12 years. Sir Garfield Sobers was such a great player. I am just an ordinary, good one-day cricketer. So there is no comparison.

What works for you when you hit a rough patch? Do you switch off or train harder?
I do both. I try to switch off and then work harder. Basically, I try to find a balance.

You benefited a great deal from Gary Kirsten. Do you miss him and wish he was around?
Yeah, he was a very important part of our team for a couple of years. Whenever I get a chance I meet him and we do have a chat.

Indian cricket is going through a transition phase. How long will it take to touch the highs of 2010-11?
Time lagega yaar (it’ll take time). Every team, including the Australians, had to go through such a phase. I think guys like Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane and Manoj Tiwary have to be groomed properly. They have to be given a lot of confidence. I’m sure if they are given the right number of chances, they’ll come good.

Who has the best work ethics in the Indian team?
I would say Virat Kohli. He’s someone who is really fit. With his training methods, he is always two steps ahead of a couple of guys in the team. And he is so focused on his game.

One ‘Virender Sehwag quality’ that you would like to have...

Viru ko main aaj ki time ka Richards manta hoon (He is the Richards of our times). When he’s set, he wins a game on his own. A big match-winner, one who has scored runs all across the world. It’s very difficult for batsmen to have a mindset like him.

You are such a fluent stroke-player. But if there’s one shot you would like to borrow from any of your teammates, what would that be?
I’ve all the shots. Problem is that I play all of them. The day I hit only 50 per cent of those strokes, I hope my batting will improve.

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