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Rediff.com  » Cricket » I realised if I have to play for India again I have to be fit: Yuvraj

I realised if I have to play for India again I have to be fit: Yuvraj

October 01, 2013 08:08 IST

I realised if I have to play for India again I have to be fit: Yuvraj

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India's hero of many a triumph tells Harish Kotian it is always special to play for India again; it is something he's worked hard for.

Delighted at making a comeback to the Indian team, Yuvraj Singh said his inclusion in the squad for next month's series against Australia is reward for all the hard work he put in during the off-season.

"I am very happy to be back in the Indian team. I have put in a lot of effort for this, worked a lot on my fitness in France, and I am happy it has paid off," he told Rediff.com.


Image: Yuvraj Singh
Photographs: Pal Pillai/Getty Images

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'We have come back quite fresh and motivated'

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The 31-year-old all-rounder was on Monday named in the squad that will play Australia in a one-off T20 match and the first three ODIs of the seven-match series at home next month.

The left-hander was dropped after a poor showing with the bat against England in January. He admitted that he was struggling with his fitness and that is when he decided to undertake a rigorous six-week training programme in Brive La Gaillarde, France, under the watchful eyes of Tim Exeter, who is known to have worked with the likes of Manchester United's Ryan Giggs and some leading rugby players in the world.

"During the time I was out of the team I got a lot of time to do an assessment of myself and I realised that if I have to play for India again I have to be fit and that is what I have done in the last few months," Yuvraj said.

"Me and Zak [Zaheer Khan], we went to work under Tim Exeter in France, where we worked on our fitness and also focussed on our mind, and we have come back quite fresh and motivated," he added.


Image: Yuvraj Singh
Photographs: Yuvraj Singh on Twitter

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'It is always special to play for India again'

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Yuvraj, who has played 282 ODIs for India, was instrumental in India's World Cup triumph in 2011 and the T20 World Cup triumph in 2007. But his career suffered a jolt after he was diagnosed with a cancerous tumour in his lung last year and forced to undergo chemotherapy in the United States. He made a comeback to the Indian team later in the year but, with the influx of many talented youngsters, was never able to seal a permanent berth in the squad.

After the training session in France, he is not only physically fit, but also in a confident frame of mind.

Earlier this month, he smashed his way to 337 runs in five List A matches -- at an average of 67.40, with a highest score of 123 -- against the touring West Indies 'A' side. He also scored a breezy 52 in a T20 game against the Caribbean side in Bangalore. With that many runs, how could the selectors could ignore him for the series against Australia.

"The results are showing in my performances in the matches for India 'A' and, hopefully, I can continue in the same vein when playing for India. Mentally, I am feeling confident and that is the best thing a cricketer can ask for," he said.

"It is always special to play for India again; this is something I have worked hard for," he added.


Image: Yuvraj Singh
Photographs: Gareth Copley/Getty Images

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'I am hoping to do well in my comeback'

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India whitewashed Australia 4-0 in the Test series earlier this year, but Yuvraj warned his team mates against taking Michael Clarke and his boys lightly in the upcoming seven-match ODI series.

"Australia has always been a top side and they will certainly not be easy opponents. I am sure it will be a competitive series and you will see some very good cricket in the series.

"I am hoping to do well in my comeback and continue my recent good performances," he said.


Image: Yuvraj Singh
Photographs: Tom Shaw/Getty Images

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