The 31-year-old is showing signs of his past days and looks to regain his place in the ODI and Test squads after a long fight with rare germ cell cancer. Yuvraj had seen his form slump since his comeback last year and had his place in the Indian team taken away from him after a weak performance in the recent IPL.
Yuvraj traveled to France with teammate Zaheer Khan in order to seek the help of Tim Exeter, a top physical trainer to regain his form.
When asked what made him come back, Yuvraj promptly replied: “My passion for the game.”
Singh highlighted his experiences over the past year. “In the IPL, I had a back injury and things didn’t go my way. I worked hard when I came back from cancer and it took a while for my body to get 100 per cent fit. The doctors said it would take me about a year to get fully fit. My body’s improved a lot. I was focused on training, and I was focused on where I had my weaknesses – on my lung capacity and diet,” explained Yuvraj.
“Tim Exeter has done wonders for me and Zak (Zaheer Khan) in terms of getting back,” he added. “It (the trip to France) was organised by Ashish Kaushik from the National Cricket Academy (NCA). The NCA played a big part, it has always played a big part in me always coming back. Thanks to the NCA, thanks to Ashish Kaushik, the support staff, and obviously the people who believed in me.”
Yuvraj took time to get going during the match against West Indies and got his first boundary only after 39 balls. However, once he was settled, he scored eight fours and seven sixes hitting a total of 123 from 89 balls.
“It’s always amazing to get a hundred. It’s the first game of my season, and everything fell in place,” said Yuvraj. “I’d worked quite hard in the off-season and I was looking good, I was confident. I’ve been working on my batting and skills in the last couple of weeks and I just wanted to take some time at the start and attack when I needed to.”
Yuvraj stated that it took little effort to get in form. “Most of my centuries are like this,” he pointed out. “I take a few balls to get to 30-35, and then try and up the tempo. Most of my innings have been like that, because I’m a middle-order batsman and I can’t just go in. I have to play with responsibility, have to see my team has a good total on the board. So I try and bat till the end, and that’s how I’ve batted throughout my career.”
Yuvraj confessed that he was “much better” after his trip to Europe. “I wanted to get my sharpness on the field, and I worked on a couple of things – running between the wickets, getting quicker, my strength. I’m definitely feeling a lot stronger and quicker on the ground. I’m moving quickly. I was always a quick runner, quick between the wickets, and a good fielder. So I just worked on those aspects and I’m feeling much better.”
Singh was confident on returning to his best in due time. “I always had the belief that when I’m feeling well from inside, when I’m feeling mentally good, I’m going to do well. It’s taken a lot of time, because the body has gone through a lot. You can’t just go through such a disease and come back and say ‘okay, I’m going to be a 100 per cent.’ It’s taken a lot of time for my body to heal. And it’s just getting better and better. I’m just happy with the way I hit the ball today and hopefully I can carry on with this form in the coming months.”