| Yuvraj Singh, in New Delhi, on Saturday. Picture by Prem Singh |
New Delhi: Out of cricket for the past eight months due to health reasons, star all-rounder Yuvraj Singh is determined to make a comeback to the India team for the T20 World Cup, beginning on September 18.
Expressing his desire to wear the national colours once again, the dashing southpaw, who recently recovered from cancer, said: “I hope to be back with the India team for the T20 World Cup. Since the tournament is two months away, if I can train hard for one and half month, I can come back on the track.”
Yuvraj made these observations on Saturday during the launch of “YouWeCan”, a Yuvraj Singh Foundation initiative to combat cancer by spreading awareness about the disease, advantages of early detection and fighting the stigma attached to it.
A star of India’s World Cup triumph in 2011, Yuvraj, however, is aware that he needs some quality match practice before the T20 meet in Sri Lanka. “Ranji Trophy is after World T20. In any case, one can’t prepare for T20 playing Ranji Trophy,” said Yuvraj.
“The serious match practice that I can get ahead of World T20 is Moin-ud- Dowla Trophy and Buchi Babu tournament but I am still not aware of the dates of these tournaments.
“May be I can play some matches during New Zealand’s tour of India. I really felt very motivated when chairman of selectors (Krishnamachari) Srikkanth said that I am in their scheme of things for the World T20. I have been training for past one and half months and will get better in the next two months,” Yuvraj added.
Asked whether he was planning to make himself available for Test matches also, Yuvraj said: “Right now, I don’t want to think about Test matches. For me, it’s important to play any format whether T20 or limited overs. About Tests, it will depend on my form, time and fitness.”
Wearing jeans and a white shirt, the Punjab batsman arrived at Capital’s elite Constitution Club with his mother and foundation members for the launch of his programme and even spent some time playing cricket with children at the club lawn.
Initially, Yuvraj said, it was tough on his body when he started out on his fitness programme at the National Cricket Academy (NCA). “At the start, it was very tough on the body.
“Things improved with every session. The shock, which the body used to get, reduced over the time. Also, to resume training, you need lots of strength. The body needed to get back that strength,” he said.
Praising the role of Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), Yuvraj said he was happy to be nominated for the Arjuna Award.
“It is an honour that BCCI has nominated my name for the Arjuna award. This is the second time my name has been sent…Hope I am lucky enough to get it this time,” he commented.
During the World Cup, Yuvraj revealed, he sensed there was something wrong with his body as he was coughing constantly. “But I did not want to go to the doctor as I was sure he won’t allow me to play. I was praying to God that whatever happens, I must win the World Cup,” Yuvraj told a stunned audience.
Once diagnosed with cancer, Yuvraj had to stop playing but things were tough, he said. “I was desperate to play…..even watching India matches on television was tough for me. I remember an incident when Anil Kumble walked into my room and asked me to switch off the TV set and concentrate on my health.”
He admitted that the idea to set up the foundation came from cycling legend Lance Armstrong’s project, which started after seven-time Tour de France champion successfully recovered from testicular cancer.
“I also have recovered from cancer, but the scars would remain forever. I know I am the face of cancer patients in India. I have a responsibility towards them. I want to spread awareness among people suffering from cancer. I want them to remain positive,” said Yuvraj.