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The transcript of Yuvraj Singh's interview on Harsha Online, which was was aired on STAR Sports

On playing in and outside India:
When you play overseas people from all over the world come to watch, but when playing inside India it seems as if the whole of India has come to one stadium. This is something amazing to notice!

On recent performances reflecting India's chances in the World Cup:
Obviously, the recent successes have reflected our performance. We did well in the NatWest, which was an unbelievable final, and then in the ICC Champions Trophy. It's a good sign that we are playing well before the World Cup, because it's very important to go into such a big event and do well.

We have more responsibility on our shoulders now as people are expecting the World Cup out of us. We have to live up to it.

On his NatWest performance:
When I was batting, Sachin got out; it was a bit of a shock to me and to the whole of India. It was a difficult situation and I was thinking that I would try to stick till the 40 or 45th over, and if me and Kaif can stay till the last 10 overs, we might get the trophy.

We started off decently, and we built up the innings. Playing in a final like this was always a difficult situation for us, but I think we did really well.

We have lot of confidence between both of us; Kaif and me. We ran well between the wickets; if he dives at the cover, I dive at the point. So, it's like lot of confidence between us, and we have been playing for 5-6 years.

I was doing well in the series, and I was in the good make, and I was thinking if I stayed till the end I could do it for India again. When you have to chase a big target you have to take risks. Getting runs and winning the final match was an impossible task.

When I was out, I got shattered and was very disappointed. When I played the shot I thought it would go over him, but when I saw the ball in his hand I was very sad. I had thought that we are nearly there; now it's going to be like no batsman left. I was so tense that I didn't take out my pads. I told Bhaji on the way that it's just a question of if he can get 10 or 15 runs, it will then be a partnership of 30 runs. That's what exactly happened; Bhaji scored 15 very crucial runs.

On the NatWest victory moments:
I just ran into the ground; the groundsman stopped me from going but I jumped over the railing and went into Kaif; I was so happy at that time that I had tears in my eyes.

I jut wanted to take my shirt-off; I was so happy. I dodged over the gatekeeper; he told me to wait, and till the time he was opening the gate, I jumped over the gate and just ran in.


On his younger days:
As I see in my childhood photographs, my bat was even bigger than me. My earliest memories are playing cricket in under-10 and under-12 cricket in sector 16 stadium in Chandigarh; that was the first time I was playing with the hard ball.

I was very scared off the hard ball; I got hit on my pads and walked off, and I was so scared.

On the right balance between studies and sports:
I was okay in studies; not so good. Always thrown out by my teacher because I was used to talk about cricket in class and not study, but I think studies are very important for anyone who is playing sports. Having something in one's academics always helps one at some given point of time in one's life; one might not realize that early, but, maybe, later.

Yuvraj's teacher (Manu Chaddah): Academically, he did well where the oral part was there. He was fond of extra curricular activities and would take part in all of them. Other than studies he was happy with everything. When he came to us recently, the advice he gave to the children was that he himself had missed out on his studies, but told them not to do the same. He further said that studies are very important and they won't find a school like Vivek anywhere in the world.

Yuvraj's principal (Sonaiyna Dass): Once when he was either in 4th or 5th standard, we had taken the class for a movie called 'The Gods must be crazy - Part II' and it was one scene which we felt was a little grown up for the children and we told them to shut their eyes, but Yuvraj didn't shut his eyes and said that he knew the thing and kept on watching the scene.

Yuvraj continues: It was great fun. The school was small, had nice classes, nice playground. It wasn't like a typical school. I really loved that school.

On whether growing up was fun or not:
Growing up was fun, but studies were never. Because of my cricket I moved to Patiala. I thought that there are more facilities there for cricket. There I studied in YPS (the same school as Sidhu studied).

On his playing other games:
I would play all kinds of games. I used to play football, tennis, cricket, skating, etc. Never was fond of just one game.

On his interest in skating:
I used to love skating. No effort is required in it; just have to roll the tyres; it was something very entertaining. Skating was my first love; I used to do 8 to 10 hours of skating. I remember Navjot Sidhu coming and telling me to stop playing this girl's game and start playing some boy's game.

Yuvraj's mother (Shabnam Singh): He was a very good skater and was honoured by the governor for it. One day when he came with the gold medal in his hand, his father became furious and told him to stop playing this girl's game and start playing cricket, and that was it.

Yuvraj continues: My dad wanted me to play cricket as he thought there was no scope in skating. I was so proud in getting a gold medal but my father threw the medal and skates off, and threatened me to start playing cricket, otherwise he would break my legs.

On the start of serious cricket:
I always wanted to be like Sachin. I have seen him playing from his age of 16 years to the current 29. I feel that it's difficult to cope up with such a world-class player but still I always try. I got into cricket after being told to do so by my father, then I started liking it. I went to many places when playing for under-12 and under-14; I also attended 2-3 Bishen Bedi's camps.


On playing in Mumbai at Vengsarkar's academy:
I was 15-16 at that time when getting trained at the Vengsarkar academy; after that I was supposed to go to England. I learnt a lot about life in that time; I used to travel from Andheri to Churchgate. When I used to get into the train I didn't need to get out; people used to push me out. Travelling in train really made me a hard person.

On not becoming a fast bowler like his father:
I started my cricket career as a fast bowler only, a medium pacer, but I had a slight back injury, so I switched over to spin and started concentrating on batting.

On his coaches:
Dad was always my first coach; I always had his inspiration with me. Afterwards, I started going to many places, being trained by people like Bishen Singh Bedi and others.

Yuvraj's coach (Sukhwinder Bawa): I think Yuvraj has the greatest joy in this world in giving me a hard time. When he was picked for the ICC Trophy in Nairobi, he phoned me up from Bangalore and told me that he was not selected; I felt sad; he then said that he has been selected.

I had promised him that if he makes 100 in the Ranji Trophy we would share something. So in Ranji Trophy when he made his first 100 he phoned me in the evening and told me that he was out for a duck. I have told him that one day in his mischief I would get a heart attack.

On spotting and developing young cricketers in India:
The under-14, under-17, under-19 is a very good system. Now the India 'A' tour is also happening. We went to South Africa; there is going to be a tour of Australia. You have to play more and more to get experience at a very early age. The more matches you play, the more you get into the match frame of mind.

On the under-19 World Cup:
The under-19 World Cup was indeed a big thing for us. I got my first Ranji Trophy hundred in October-November 1999; got 350 in the final and after that it was the World Cup.

The World Cup was very tense; we scored like 200 runs, the opposition were like 100 for 2. The ball got wet; there was dew, and suddenly we got some wickets. I also got four wickets; then we qualified for the next round.

I think I got a lot of limelight after winning the World Cup; I got the Challenger Trophy without playing much of Ranji Trophy matches, so I think it was good for me.

On his innings against Australia at Nairobi:
Obviously, it gave me a lot of confidence, playing against a team, which is the world's best; and I scored against them and got the man-of-the-match award. It was a big boost for my career.

After that innings at Nairobi, people started recognizing me. Although, I didn't bat well after that, I didn't have that trim of mind whenever I used to bat.

Whenever a player is not doing well people make comments. I was not worried about the comments people were making, but was rather worried about my cricket. I realized that things are not going well with me, and I need to work hard and be focused.

On his interest in playing in Test matches:
Obviously, any cricketer playing for his country dreams to play Test cricket. I feel Test cricket is the main cricket; it's more difficult than one-day, as you have to face a lot of short bowling; you have to stay there on the wicket and be patient; it's a great test of character.


On his being close to his mother:
I had always been my mother's boy. She had always been an inspiration to me.

On his father:
Whenever I was disappointed, my father didn't speak to me, as he also felt disappointed. He has always been very positive in life; I never got a feeling from him that he is pampering me.

On the South African tour:
It was not that bad. First game against South Africa 'A', I got 48 not out; we lost like 6 wickets in some 140 runs. Obviously, I didn't get much runs; should have done better and then I got zero against Kenya, which was horrible.

On his second coming in home series against Zimbabwe:
I was very determined and very eager to do well and before that I was not getting too many runs in domestic. Then I played some games and got a double hundred in my first class game.

On confidence of the captain in him:
He has been always supportive; he likes me because I am always there to give a hundred per cent performance. I know that he loves his boys.

On his fitness:
The secret of my fitness is Adrian (Le Roux); he has given us programs, which really keep us fit; we want to work on our work-uts, and we really enjoy it.

On his fielding:
My fielding was never natural; I really had to work hard on it. I was thrown out of the Ranji Trophy team when I was 15 years old because of poor fielding; it put a mark on me that I was not good on fielding. So, I really worked hard on my fielding.

Kaif and I plan fielding; suppose if I dive he is behind me to cover me and if the ball goes between us, we both have to run.

On improvement of fielding in the Indian team:
We need to get a little harder on our bowling so as to bowl better in the one-day game. Obviously, fielding is a big thing in one-day cricket and as we are batting well, it's seems to be a good combination. According to me, Jonty Rhodes is the best fielder in world cricket, and among my teammates, it's Ajit Agarkar. I watch Jonty very closely.

I have an instinct of hitting the stumps and I think I do it really well; I have been practising it a lot. I anticipate every ball coming at me; even if I don't get the ball I still go for it.


On his mimicry:
Mother (Shabnam Singh): He is a terrific mimicker. He can mimic anyone he knows. He loves to play as an ostrich; it's a sight to watch.

Friend: He does imitation well; a wonderful imitator. Does the imitation of John Wright very well.

On people discussing his life outside cricket:
What one does outside cricket is his private life; I don't like people discussing that for no reason. Obviously, one can stop people but they should be intelligent enough.

On his interest in modelling and acting:
I just play cricket and the they just come by; so they don't bother me. I think I am a decent actor; Sourav always praises me for acting well. When I was a young kid I acted in two Punjabi movies.

I can't forget the day when I worked in that movie; it was one of the most dangerous days of my life. I was running after the train and it was a local train and not a special train; at the same time somebody was trying to catch the train and someone tripped me and I went rolling down; my head went in between that path and the train; if I had not put my head up, my head would have just gone with the train. I remember somebody really pulled me out. My dad got really furious; he wanted to kill everyone at the sets. In the next shot my dad was running along with me.

On what's next:
Right now it's cricket all the time. I am just hoping to get a berth in the Test side. Now the World Cup is coming, it's high time that we should do well in the World Cup

Previous interview: Sir Vivian Richards

- courtesy (c) ESPN-STAR Sports. The transcript of Yuvraj Singh interview on Harsha Online, that was aired on STAR Sports.


Design: Uday Kuckian

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