Yograj Singh’s public criticism of MS Dhoni won’t be forgotten easily but son Yuvraj continues to back the former India captain to come good as a player in future. Selected for the ODI series against England after nearly a year in wilderness, Yuvraj supported MS Dhoni’s decision to hand over the reins of the team to Virat Kohli. In an interview to bcci.tv, the all-rounder said the team needs time to get accustomed to a new leader ahead of the 2019 World Cup.
“I think he took a very good decision by stepping down because I am sure that he must have felt that it’s time for the next guy to take over and build the team for the 2019 World Cup. I am sure that he must have seen it in Virat and I believe that Dhoni still has a lot to contribute as a player,” said Singh. “I think he (Dhoni) has been an extremely good captain for India. We won the 2011 World Cup and the 2013 Champions Trophy under his captaincy and he also guided us to the No. 1 ranking in Tests. These are amazing achievements and I am not sure how many other captains have that”, he added.
Yuvraj’s positive comments are in stark contrast to his father’s who had publicly accused Dhoni of deliberately keeping Yuvraj out of the India team for the 2015 World Cup. He had gone to the extent of saying that Dhoni would have to beg one day. Yograj was heavily trolled on Twitter after Yuvraj was picked for the ODI and T20 teams against England.
Yuvraj also backed Virat Kohli, who had attended his lavish wedding in December and even flaunted moves on the dance floor, to get better as a captain. Kohli will now lead India in all formats after Dhoni stepped down from the ODI and T20 captaincy on Wednesday. “I have seen his grow in front of my eyes as a youngster and he has always got better and better. The special thing about Virat is that he commands performance. He has been consistent throughout his career and that consistency has converted him into a very good captain. That is what he demands from the team and that is the hallmark of a good captain,” said Yuvraj.
An integral part of the India team that lifted the 2011 World Cup, he was also declared Player of the Tournament before a rare cancer diagnosis forced him to take a break from cricket. Two huge Ranji Trophy centuries this season – 260 against Baroda and 177 against Madhya Pradesh – saw Yuvraj making his way back to the India team again after he stumbled in a few matches just after recovering from cancer.
A survivor of many battles, Yuvraj said he was never short of inspirations. “I was inspired by Lance Armstrong when I was going through cancer and after coming out of it, I think I have inspired a lot of people to come out of their own adversity. It’s tough when you go through a period like this in your life where you don’t know where your life is going to go. So, you need to keep working hard and know in your hear that one day you are going to come back. Things can change in a matter of short time and my attitude is to never give up.”
One of the oldest members at 35, Yuvraj revealed he has been working very hard on his fitness. “As you grow older, you need to work harder on your body and in the mid 30s, your body asks for a lot of recovery time. I have changed my diet and I have doing a couple of extra hours in training. Being physically fit is a very important part of being mentally strong,” he said.