TT Epaper
The Telegraph
TT Photogallery
 
CIMA Gallary

The fire in my belly is still strong, says Yuvraj Singh

‘I felt honoured sharing space with Bolt’
Exclusive

Bangalore: Yuvraj Singh spoke to The Telegraph over breakfast at the ITC Gardenia on Wednesday.

Yuvraj has been out of favour for months, but his popularity hasn’t diminished one bit. Many, indeed, waited for breakfast to be over before requesting him for photographs.

They weren’t disappointed.

Excerpts...

Thoughts on Tuesday’s exhibition match and race at the Chinnaswamy...

(Smiles) It was a lot of fun... (Usain) Bolt batted and bowled well, but he dropped a couple of catches and realised cricket wasn’t that easy!

Moment of the evening...

When I beat Bolt in the 100m sprint! Actually, he allowed me to beat him.

Coming face to face with Bolt...

It was a first for me. I was to have shot a promotional with Bolt in 2011, but that didn’t happen because of my illness... Bolt’s so humble... In fact, his humility bowled me over. He’s obviously a great athlete, but greatness doesn’t only mean records. I felt honoured sharing space with Bolt. It’s great for India and great for Bangalore that a modern-day legend came over and had fun. Puma must be thanked.

Best way to describe Bolt...

Absolutely down to earth and very accommodating.

If Bolt and he talked cricket...

Certainly not anything to do with international cricket. There was no time, really.

Bolt having chosen athletics over cricket when in high school...

Yeah, Bolt told me about it. I’m glad he chose athletics, for he could have made it difficult for the rest of us!

Likelihood of Bolt taking to soccer or cricket once he’s through with athletics...

Well, Bolt would have to devote time. Be it cricket or soccer, he’ll have to put in the hours. He’s got big shots and can bowl well, so... But he’ll have to show the same determination which has been a remarkable feature of his sprinting to gold medals.

Bolt and he having given their name to a Foundation...

I know, but there was just no time to exchange notes. Next time, perhaps.

Apart from Bolt, the non-cricket superstars he has shared space with...

I’ve done a shoot with Feranando Alonso, the former F1 world champion.

Being a month away from completing 14 years as an India cricketer...

I’m working hard to make a comeback... Keeping the (February-March) 2015 World Cup in mind, I’ll be giving it my best shot... The fire in my belly is still strong and I remain passionate about cricket. I’m waiting for the domestic season to begin.

On being largely ignored in recent years...

It’s tough for somebody who has played for the country for almost a decade-and-a-half... I had a major illness (cancer) and my body has taken time to recover... It has taken time to settle down... Also, I accept that my form hasn’t been great. It has been patchy, up and down... I’ve placed the reality before you and it’s important for us sportspersons to go through a reality check... I’d like to play another World Cup and I’ll be giving it my best shot. I can only hope that things fall in place... If they don’t, life will move on. Life goes on, doesn’t it? I can only try my best and look to improve... I’m doing that.

[The 32-year-old Yuvraj’s last India appearance in any format was during the March-April World T20 in Bangladesh. He was, incidentally, the Player of the Tournament in the 2011 World Cup.]

His health...

All good, touch wood.

Sweating it out at Zaheer Khan’s top-of-the-line fitness training centre, Pro Sport, in Mumbai...

Zak’s got the best equipment and he’s got trainers and physios from South Africa. He’s created an environment we mostly get to see overseas... I’m at his centre three-four days a week.

Possibility of reviewing his career after the upcoming World Cup...

Let’s see... I’m not thinking that far ahead. The goal is to play in the World Cup.

Finally... Having touched idol Sachin Tendulkar’s feet during the recent bicentenary match at Lord’s...

(Laughs) Just needed an excuse (after getting a hundred for the Rest of the World) to touch The Master’s feet. As you know, he’s been an inspiration.