MS Dhoni and Yuvraj Singh at a practice session in Visakhapatnam a day before the T20 match against New Zealand. PTI Photo/Ashok Bhaumik
Captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni said it was important that Yuvraj Singh should not burdened with the hype of his return to international cricket, after recovering from cancer, with the first of the two Twenty20 against New Zealand to be played in Visakhapatnam on Saturday.
Dhoni feels it was important to keep things normal for Yuvraj.
"I feel we need to keep as normal as possible. Don't create the hype around him," Dhoni said.
Dhoni was upset with the media scrutiny on Yuvraj's return. The media closely followed Yuvraj's training session at the YSR Reddy ACA-VDCA Stadium.
Dhoni feels the media is putting pressure on Yuvraj, who has now recovered from rare germ cell cancer. Practice session
"The whole world is talking about his comeback in a manner as if they are helping him out. In a way, it puts the burden on the individual. It's important to keep it as normal as possible. Not to let him think what has really happened in his life," he said.
Dhoni said Yuraj is a "strong character" and hoped that the flamboyant all-rounder, who was India's hero in the 2011 World Cup, would enjoy his second innings.
"He has fought through it as he is a strong character. As I said, he needs to turn up and just enjoy his cricket. That's what he has done from age-group cricket till now. So he should not think about anything else," Dhoni said.
"The manner in which he joked and fooled around seemed as if he has never ever been away from his teammates. He looked happy and while enjoying a game of soccer, he even showed his predatory instincts by scoring a goal.
"Right now, we had a soccer session, followed by a net session. He looks very joyful," he said.
Dhoni said the wicket could help the bowlers but slowly it would ease out.
"The wicket looks good and that means we will have something for the bowlers. It should come onto the bat nicely. We hope batsmen can play nice strokes."
Dhoni also felt nostalgic and recalled his magnificent 148 against Pakistan way back in 2005 at the same venue.
Yuvraj Singh plays football with Virat Kohli play during practice session ahead of T20 cricket match between India Vs New Zealand, at Dr. YSR Reddy ACA - VDCA Cricket Stadium, in Visakhapatnam. HT photo
"I started over here... in the sense my first big innings was here. I've some fond memories," he said.
Dhoni admitted that he missed Yuvraj's company when the cricketer was out of international cricket fighting with cancer.
"We missed him for a long time. He has gone through tough times. But the good thing is he is enjoying it. We missed him for close to a year now. We are hoping that he comes back strong enjoys the game. We just want him to turn up on the field and enjoy the game," he said.
New Zealand captain Ross Taylor said it was great to see Yuvraj back in action.
"It's great to see him back in action but when we are on-field, it's going to be very competitive. Once we are off the field, we are all friends," he said.