The Telegraph
Tuesday , April 1 , 2014
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Watson praises Yuvraj, says he’s a class apart

Yuvraj Singh

Dhaka: India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni didn’t mind allowing Yuvraj Singh some time to return to form because he always felt that the left-handed batsman was just an innings away from his old self. Former Indian captains Kapil Dev and Ravi Shastri too felt the same.

But it’s not just the Indians who believe that Yuvraj belongs to a different class.

On Monday, Australian Shane Watson echoed similar views about India’s 2011 World Cup hero as he showered praises on him.

“Yuvraj was always going to take a bit of time to get going… He is a class apart…

“He obviously hadn’t scored many runs in the first couple of games, but I’ve seen Yuvraj take us apart at certain times since I was 18 (referring to the 2000 U-19 World Cup),” Watson, who will lead the Rajasthan Royals in IPL VII, said.

“When Yuvraj is on, he hits the ball in all different spots… He gave himself a bit of time to get in and then picked his bowlers to be able to take on,” he added referring to Yuvraj’s 43-ball 60-run innings against Australia, which helped India to a huge 73-run victory.

Watson feels when Yuvraj is counter-attacking, he is at his best and the innings against Australia will give his confidence a boost.

“There’s no doubt when Yuvraj is taking on the bowlers, he is certainly at his absolute best. Against us, he hit the ball, from the quicks to the spinners, as clean as anyone in the world,” the all-rounder said.

“There’s no doubt it is going to be a huge confidence-builder for the Indian team itself as well as Yuvraj.

“That he is batting well for the team certainly makes India a great side because they have got a very good opening combination and him in the middle-order… We had seen what he had done in the World Cup previously as well,” Watson said.

Australia, already out of contention for a place in the semi-finals of the World T20, play their last game on Tuesday, against Bangladesh.

Speaking about that, Watson said: “I have been nowhere near my best in the tournament… I have probably scored five runs or so.

“May be I have taken more wickets than the number of runs that I have scored. So I will want to do well in our last match… I hope the team does well too,” he said.

Moving away from the World T20, Watson said that it would have been a “shame” if Rajasthan Royals, the champions of the inaugural year, were barred from playing in the seventh edition of the IPL.

“Personally for me, it would have been a huge shame if Rajasthan Royals weren’t playing this IPL because I certainly love every moment I’ve spent there since it started,” Watson said.

“But we are on the right side again, thank God…

“I’ve always been confident things will work out well in the end, and it seems it has worked out that way,” he added.