Sunday, April 3, 2011


MUMBAI: Dropped from the Indian team only last year, a totally transformed Yuvraj Singh turned out to be the man with the Midas touch in India's campaign to win the World Cup.

A highly emotional Yuvraj broke down before 33,000 people at the Wankhede stadium and millions watching on television as he watched his captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni hit the winning six in last night's final against Sri Lanka.

Yuvraj said it was difficult to control his emotions after the victory and had tears in his eyes for the first time, terming the moment as a "dream come true" for the team.

"I think it was the first time I was in tears because everybody were in tears," Yuvraj said.

The dashing all-rounder, who had a dream run in the high profile tournament with 369 runs and 15 wickets, said he wanted to win the coveted title for Sachin Tendulkar.

"All through the tournament I wanted to win it for him because what he has given to Indian cricket nobody has. The things he has achieved is remarkable. I always prayed to the Almighty that you should give it to him before he retires."

It has been a remarkable change of fortune for the elegant left-hander who, a few months back, was struggling to retain his place in the team owing to poor form.

Despite being a regular in the ODI team, Yuvraj has never been able to cement a place in the Test team, which he has often said is the ultimate dream of any cricketer.

The retirement of former captain Sourav Ganguly provided him with the opportunity to cement a place in the Test team but he just could not grab the opportunity with both hands.

Yuvraj was in and out of the Test team till he was finally dropped for the home Test series against Australia in October last year and was even left out of India's Asia Cup ODI squad in June.

"Since the loss in T20 World Cup I went through a lot of criticism. Getting dropped from the Indian team after 7-8 years was a big jolt for me. Then I decided I only need to make things better, so I started working extra because there are times when you need to step up the paddle," he explained.

In the run-up to the World Cup, Yuvraj was dogged by persistent injuries and his form was also not too good.

"As a team it was a dream to win the World Cup. Since Gary (Kirsten) came and in the last two years we have been emphasising on the World Cup and how we gonna go about it and by small, small steps we have achieved what the whole of India wanted. It's just a dream-come-true for every individual," he added.

Yuvraj admitted he was not in the best of form before the start of the tournament.

"I was not really in the best of form (at the start of the tournament). Things just started happening for me. I started bowling well, batting well, fielding well. I worked really hard on my game since last year. I was just wondering why I was getting injured so badly."

Being dropped from both the Test and ODI teams and battling one injury after another was very frustrating and Yuvraj describes that phase as the "toughest period" of his career.

"It was tough time for me. I think that was the toughest period for me in the last 10 years. There was a time when I asked myself, 'do I want to continue'? Seriously, I thought, 'do I want to play anymore or not'? There was lot of negativity around me," he had said in an interview earlier.

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