Winning 1st T20 confidence booster ahead of Pak series: Yuvraj
Off to a good start in Twenty20s after the "shattering" Test debacle, India batsman Yuvraj Singh said he was confident that the team would carry the momentum not only into the second and final tie against England in Mumbai on Saturday but also into the upcoming series against arch-foes Pakistan.
"In Twenty20s and ODIs, we have done well against them. Hopefully, we can carry the momentum, particularly with the important series against Pakistan coming up," said Yuvraj after India's five-wicket win over England in Pune on Thursday.
The all-rounder played a key role, taking 3 for 19 to half England's progress in batting and then smashed 38 in 21 balls with three sixes and two fours to help India overhaul the visitors' score of 157 for 6 with five wickets to spare.
"Losing 4-0 (in Test series in England last year) and 2-1 (recently in the four-match Test series at home) was quite shattering. England played better cricket but we beat them 5-0 in the One-dayers (last year)," said Yuvraj who was part of the Test squad that got beaten by England.
Yuvraj said the younger lot of players improved the fielding of the team."It's important to win the first game and get a good start. If we lose we are again trying to win back. With youngsters coming in the fielding is much better and this win also gives momentum and more confidence for the rest of the series and Pakistan," he added.
Image: Yuvraj Singh receives the man-of-the-match award on Thursday
'Our spinners did a good job'
Yuvraj, who has been unable to replicate his superb show in T20s and ODIs at the Test level, said the shortest form of the game offered him a chance to play freely.
"When T20 comes I play a bit openly. I enjoyed my batting and my bowling was effective and contributed to the team."
The left-hander also said the spinners, including himself, had applied the brakes in time to halt
England's flying start in the first game in Pune.
"When the openers start hitting it's always a worry. May be we could have chased 180-190 but our spinners did a good job I also bowled well and the 2-3 wickets broke the momentum," Yuvraj said.
He was as flummoxed as many how his part-time left arm spin is so effective, but gave a clue saying he slowed down the pace of his bowling to reap rich rewards on Thursday."Even I am not sure why I take so many wickets. I do my best. I was bowling faster initially and it was easier for the batsmen so I slowed it down a bit."
Image: Yuvraj Singh celebrates after claiming the wicket of Luke Wright
'I am happy to be alive and proud to be playing for India'
Yuvraj, who returned after recovering from a rare germ cell cancer, said he is happy to play for the country again whatever be the form of the game.
"I need to look forward in life. I am happy to be alive and proud to be playing for India again whether it is T20 or ODI or Test," he said.
Asked about his fitness, Yuvraj said he was getting close to what he was before the disease was diagnosed.
"One year back I was in the hospital. I can't compare it at all but I have to work harder and more hours to be where I was. I have to also get the confidence of winning for India," he said.
Yuvraj felt the best way forward for India was to include more youngsters in the squad.
"Youngsters coming in is good for the team. We have (Parvinder) Awana and Bhuvneshwar Kumar who have done well. (Suresh) Raina, (Virat) Kohli and Rohit (Sharma) have been part of the Indian team and I look like a veteran. We have been giving opportunities to youngsters and that is the way to go," he said.
Image: Yuvraj Singh