India’s inspirational all-rounder Yuvraj Singh has urged fans to tone down the hype around the semi-final match against Pakistan and enjoy it as a game of cricket.
"I don't believe this is the game of my life, or the clash of the century, and all that jazz,” he said. “It is a game, which is there to be won. Yes, emotions will be high, and that is not new.”
And was he even willing to contemplate a reverse?
"Well, we’ll prepare well, give our best, and leave the rest to destiny. A loss will be disappointing, to say the least. But let it be just a game.”
Yuvraj is confident that India’s unbeaten World Cup record against Pakistan and the players’ temperament will carry them through to the final.
"I think our clashes against Australia, South Africa and the high-pressure games in the IPL have all contributed to help us control our emotions better,” he said.
During this World Cup so far, Yuvraj has collected four man-of-the-match awards — the latest in the quarterfinal against Australia — something that did not appear likely at the beginning of this tournament given his recent form.
He says Sachin Tendulkar played a crucial role in regaining his form. “Tendulkar has seen it all, and he'd always tell me to believe in my abilities and just concentrate on preparing well, rather than worrying about the results.”
He said, “I’m a proud man and would never want to be a baggage for the team. That is where bowling helped. The runs had dried up, but I was getting wickets or bowling economically, and that kept me afloat.”
Yuvi’s left-arm spin, in fact, has earned him the nickname ‘Bishen’ from his teammates. The name elicits regular chuckles at team practice. “I just hope Bishen paaji doesn’t get to know about this!”