| Yuvraj Singh
Karachi: Rahul Dravid doesn’t like discussing individuals with the Media, yet he had high praise for Yuvraj Singh after the final Test ended disastrously, on Wednesday. “If there’s one positive to talk of, it would be Yuvraj’s superb 122 (in the second innings),” he observed.
In fact, the left-hander top scored in both innings ' 45 coming in the first.
On the morning after, though, Yuvraj was pretty distraught. “I had to wait almost two years for my second Test century and, when it did come, India again lost... Trust my luck...” No.1 was at the Gaddafi, on the last tour, when he cracked 112 in the first innings.
But, surely, the sterling effort at the National Stadium must have lifted his confidence'
“Well, it’s always nice to get a Test century... I’d set out for one in the first innings, but got out after being well set... Had I continued, we could have taken a decent lead and the Test may have ended differently,” he answered, during a chat with The Telegraph at the Sheraton.
Elaborating on his approach in innings No.2, he said: “I had to play my shots, for one couldn’t have blocked for one-and-half days... Sourav (Ganguly), too, was batting very well and we’d decided on rotating the strike... It worked till Sourav got out immediately after tea... Even then, I was hoping we would fight on till the last day...”
Asked whether he’d now cemented a first XI berth, Yuvraj responded: “You know, I live in the present... Try and enjoy the present... I don’t look ahead and, in any case, it’s not for me to speak about matters of selection... Whatever has to happen, will happen...”
Reflecting on the Test here, he remarked: “Shoaib Akhtar was quick, but (Mohammed) Asif made the biggest difference... Be it in the first or second innings, the key wickets went to him... Then, Kamran Akmal’s century (first innings) and his huge partnership with (Abdul) Razzaq proved decisive... We shouldn’t have allowed Pakistan to escape from 39 for six...”
Looking back on the three-match series, Yuvraj quipped: “What I learnt most is that Test cricket is very, very tough... In just five innings, we fielded for almost 600 (596.5 to be precise) overs... That’s a big number...”
Of course, he didn’t wilt and nobody is going to forget the run out of Salman Butt in Lahore and the catch which sent back Younis Khan in Faisalabad. “Both gave satisfaction, but the run out was from a difficult angle...” the Chandigarh da ladla pointed out.
What were his expectations from the ODI series which gets underway in Peshawar on Monday' “It will be tough... Exceedingly so... We won the last time (2004), but it had gone down to the wire... I suppose it won’t be any different now,” Yuvraj signed off.
Incidentally, Sachin Tendulkar and coach Greg Chappell (as also physio John Gloster and biomechanist Ian Fraser) eased off by playing golf at the Defense Authority facility in the afternoon.
The team leaves for Peshawar on Friday, with the one-day specialists ' Murali Kartik, Mohammed Kaif, Suresh Raina and S. Sreesanth ' arriving there (via Lahore and Islamabad) rather late at night.