The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Destiny takes Sourav, Yuvraj to WI

Mumbai: Exactly four months ago, Sourav Ganguly must have been the only one confident that he would board Team India’s flight for the World Cup. And his one-time protege, Yuvraj Singh, had been in tears at the thought of missing out owing to an injured left knee.

In the early hours of Thursday, though, both will take the British Airways Mumbai-London (Heathrow) service en route to the West Indies for possibly the most open World Cup since the Caribbeans’ domination ended with India’s sensational win in 1983.

In the lead-up to their departure, both interacted with The Telegraph and didn’t hesitate to say “God is great.”

“I’d been in tears as surgery would have kept me out for five-six months... As I walked out of the Lilavati Hospital after consulting Dr Anant Joshi that day, I hated the flashbulbs going off... Those were terrible moments for me...

“However, my determination plus the blessings of my mother (Shabnam) and Guruji helped in the speedy recovery... Obviously, it also helped that I didn’t have to undergo surgery and I’m indebted to Dr Joshi’s son, Mithun, for being more than just a physio,” Yuvraj remarked.

He added emotionally: “God is great... I’m raring to go, but I feel sorry for Brett Lee and Abdul Razzaq... It’s a pity injuries have taken them out of the World Cup... They’re such good cricketers... It’s sad, too, that there’s a question mark over Andrew Symonds...”

A chikna-looking Yuvraj (he finally shaved for Wednesday morning’s group photo at the Taj), didn’t want to make a prediction, though. “We’ve got to take one match at a time and look to first making the semi-finals... Every team would like to win the World Cup and there’s no point inviting extra pressure by saying we’re going to do this or we’ve got to do that... Bottomline is that we’ve got to play well...”

A member of the XI which lost the 2003 final to Australia, Yuvraj felt that experience apart, there’s little which separates the current squad from the one which had such a terrific run four years ago.

One difference, of course, is that Mahendra Singh Dhoni wasn’t around in 2003. “His is a big presence... That’s a difference, yes,” Yuvraj acknowledged grinning.

Sourav, who has scripted an extraordinary comeback, said he would be fastening his seat belt with the same thought when he’d set out for South Africa (after his Test recall) in early December: “That I’ve got to do well and help the team’s cause... That I have the ability to do well...”

The former captain has already gone on record saying Team India can, at least, make the semi-finals. Good luck!

Footnote: Sourav was most in ‘demand’ during the photo shoot. “Dada smile... Dada, Dada...” the lensmen kept shouting. He sat to the left of Board secretary Niranjan Shah, with successor Rahul Dravid on the other side. Coach Greg Chappell chose a corner chair.

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