'I am looking forward to a good IPL. It's a very important tournament for me as it will only set me to play cricket till 2019.'
Out of the national team reckoning for a while now, India all-rounder Yuvraj Singh says he will continue playing cricket till 2019 before taking a call on his retirement.
Yuvraj, who last played for India in June last year in an ODI, said the upcoming 11th edition of the Indian Premier League holds great significance for him as a good performance in the T20 event will help him keep in the fray for a spot in the 2019 World Cup.
"I am looking forward to a good IPL. It's a very important tournament for me as it will only set me to play cricket till 2019. I am looking to play cricket till 2019, whatever cricket I get to play and take a call after that," Yuvraj said on the sidelines of the 18th Laureus World Sports Awards in Monaco.
A regular in the Indian ODI team till the 2011 World Cup triumph before his career was jeopardised by a rare germ cell cancer, Yuvraj's only regret was that he could not cement his place in the Indian Test side.
"Definitely, in the first six to seven years of my career when I was at my best I did not get a lot of opportunities because there were such great players in the (Test) team and when I got an opportunity I was diagnosed with cancer. So that regret will always be there but these things are never in my control. I am just looking forward to whatever cricket I get to play," the 36-year-old all-rounder said.
Yuvraj praised Virat Kohli and his men for the character they showed to bounce back in the limited overs series after the close 1-2 loss in the Test rubber.
"I think it is a pretty great performance. They showed a lot of character after losing the Test series. It was as a hard-fought Test series, could have gone either way. But it was a very convincing win in the ODI series. Kohli led from the front with some big runs," the left-handed batsman said.
"Spinners bowled very well especially Kuldeep (Yadav) and (Yuzvendra) Chahal and got South Africa into trouble. And then they stepped on the gas and won the T20 series 2-1. Going abroad playing three series winning two definitely shows India’s dominance."
Kohli might have set his sights on winning the upcoming tours of England and Australia but Yuvraj said India will need consistent performances from the players to achieve the goal.
"It's a good start to believe that you can dominate outside. If you can consistently do that in England and Australia you definitely will have the belief," he said.
"Now the team is set to conquer the world. England and Australia will be testing series but if we can get some consistent performances it will give a lot of self belief to the players," he added.
Yuvraj himself has climbed up the ladders of age group cricket to stand where he is today and so he offered some words of advice for the likes of young Prthivi Shaw and Shubman Gill, who have already fetched big money from their respective franchises in the last IPL auctions.
"The more they get better the more money they will earn. So they don’t have to worry about money. They have to focus on how quickly they can do better and play for India," he said when asked about the India Under-19 cricketers.
"I think Prithvi, Shubman, Abhishek Sharma are great talents and hopefully in the next coming years we will see them play for India. I am sure the IPL will give them a great platform to learn from other international players and feel the hype of international cricket. So it's very important tournament for them and they should enjoy it," Yuvraj signed off.