Yuvraj Singh, talent extraordinaire, one time heir apparent and the man who has won India countless one-dayers, dreams of a different game -- he wants to play Tests regularly.
But, for now, he must content himself with one-dayers in England, and then the still more abbreviated form of the game, the Twenty20 World Cup in South Africa.
Speaking from Bristol on Thursday, Yuvraj, the vice-captain for the South African event, spoke at length about the return to the country where India reached the final of another World Cup, in 2003.
You are going to South Africa right after the one-day series in England. That should be tough.
Well, seven one-dayers can take a lot out of you. But looking at it another way, it means we've spent time on the field before we go there. It’s going to boil down to how you prepare for the games.
You are the vice-captain for the event, and you've been tipped to lead India one day.
Yes, I'm quite confident of becoming the captain one day. Every player wants to play for the country, wants to lead the team. But at the moment, the focus is on winning the series here, and then doing well in South Africa.
How do you evaluate your chances there?
We have a very young team, and we’re going to see a brilliant fielding effort. And we do have a number of good allrounders, including Irfan Pathan.
You can’t really make predictions in Twenty20 cricket. Generally, Australia are the best in the world, but in this version of the game, you never know what might happen.
We're in the same group as Pakistan, and that should be a match to look forward to?
Yes, the India-Pakistan games are always well-contested, and Durban has a high population of Indians, so I’m sure it’s going to be a full house. I’m sure it’s going to be an exciting game.
Specifically, what different preparations are required for Twenty20 cricket?
At the end of the day, the game remains simple — you have to go out there and play cricket. You have to run hard, you have to hit the ball around. You don’t have too much time in this form of the game. You’ve got to try and play different kinds of shots, set different kinds of fields. You have to think quickly, for it’s a fast game.
India are going to miss Rahul Dravid, Sourav Ganguly and Sachin Tendulkar.
Well, the three have been playing for a very long time and they need rest --- there are times when they will not be around. It was a decision made by the players, selectors and captain. Our top players needed to be rested, for there is a lot of cricket ahead.
And it should be a good opportunity for Virender Sehwag?
Yes, of course. Sehwag has been a top player for India for a long time. He’s a great player, one of our best openers after Sunil Gavaskar, and I’m sure he’s going to come back strongly.
You have several openers in the squad. Who’s going to open?
We've got four openers, but we haven't really decided as yet. We're going to try a few combinations here in the one-dayers, we’ve to go think about the right combination for Twenty20 games.
What would be your expectations in South Africa?
The format is very exciting, and we're looking forward to doing well there, especially as we did not have a good World Cup in the West Indies. We let a lot of people in India down, and we're hoping that in this World Cup, we'll do well and get our support back. South Africa is a lucky place for us — we reached the final there in the World Cup in 2003. We always have good support over there.