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Home > Cricket > World Cup 2003 > Interview >

I try to play straight and finish games: Yuvraj

March 04, 2003

Yuvraj SinghAs a child he always dreamed of facing Wasim Akram. On March 1, Yuvraj Singh realized that dream. But when asked his most memorable moment of the match against Pakistan he said, ''When Rahul (Dravid) pulled Waqar (Younis) for four to win the match. That was the moment.''

This is Team India with Yuvraj an integral part of this unit. As of today, the young Indians are on a roll.

Aware of the demands of international cricket, Yuvraj has realized that flair is seasonal but consistency counts.

He discusses the game against Pakistan and explains his coming of age as a cricketer to Faisal Shariff.


What went through your head when you went out to bat at the fall of Sachin Tendulkar's wicket?

It was not such a tough situation since Sachin had given us a brilliant start. Another 100 runs were required. I thought I would just go in there, take my time and back myself.

What did you make of Sachin's knock?

Sachin is playing like he used to two years ago. He is the greatest batsman in my eyes. Someone who can adapt to any situation and settles down at the crease in quick time. I am fascinated by the way his brain works. He took the chance against Pakistan with confidence and his body language suggested he was there to win.

Were you nervous of the fact that you were up against names like Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis and Shoaib Akhtar?

Of course, it matters who the bowler is and we knew Pakistan had the best bowling attack of the World Cup. But Sachin had made it very easy for us and we didn't have to score quickly.    

This was your first match against Pakistan. How was it?

A year ago, I knew we were playing Pakistan on March 1. It stayed at the back of my mind as playing Pakistan is always a huge occasion. I had been preparing for the match mentally for a long time.

Yuvraj SinghYour batting has become more responsible and less flashy over the past few months. What has brought about the transition?

When I was batting earlier, I used to just go and play my shots. Now there is responsibility on my shoulders so I try to settle down, play straight and finish games. Getting runs square or straight do not matter; I look to score runs as quickly as I can.

Do you play on the reputation of the bowler or merit of the ball?

It is important to know what attack you are playing. It is important to know the quality of the attack, see its strength and weaknesses. If you play on the bowler's reputation you will never succeed.  

As a child, you must have witnessed several games between India-Pakistan. Did you ever dream that you would play a part in one of the great matches between the two sides? 

I always dreamt of facing Wasim Akram and it was fulfilled. It was a great occasion for me. But there were no butterflies. After the match, he told me, ‘Well played' and I was quite happy.

Former greats and the team coach have anointed you as a future leader.

Everyone dreams of leading India, I do too. But now I am only looking at playing well and being part of a winning combination by lifting the World Cup.

You have had great partnerships with Rahul Dravid.

Rahul is a professional who knows what his role is. When we bat together he always tells me to stick around since I can get runs. He told me whatever chances there are to be taken he would take them but I must concentrate on staying till the end. He has worked a lot with John (Wright) and he knows my game well. He always backs me.

The youngsters play without any pressure. What is the reason?

If you are playing international cricket you have to be confident. Add to that the backing that the seniors give you and help in keeping the flock together. We always believe in playing together. There is no fear of failure. 

How fit is the Indian team?

All the boys have had to work very hard. Every one has to know that if you have to be the best you have to work hard. With Adrian Le Roux, Andrew Leipus and John Wright there is a direction. Earlier the fitness schedules were not systematic, so we were kind of lost. Now there is a specific idea about what we have to do to keep fit.

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