If India are to be crowned world champions, a lot will depend on the form — and fitness — of Yuvraj Singh. Back after a lengthy injury lay-off, the dashing southpaw is looking to continue with the rich vein of form he was in last season.
In this interview, Yuvraj talks about India’s chances and his own hopes at the event.
On his role here
Whenever I go out to bat, I want to play till the end, especially when I am well set. I have been able to do just that in the one-dayers. The captain has faith in me and that also helps. That's what I will be trying to do here too, try and stay till the end, play according to the situation, irrespective of the position I go out to bat at.
On his ideal batting position
I don't know, actually. I normally bat at No. 6. But here, I will bat at whatever number they tell me to. I have to bat according to the situation. You have to do what the team tells you to do.
On his bowling
I have been working quite hard on my bowling. I have always made efforts to improve on that front. Yes, I bowled well against the Dutch but against better opposition, it's going to be tougher. Hopefully, I will be able to do a good job.
On wickets in the World Cup
The wickets are a bit slow. The ball will not come onto the bat as well as you want it to. You have to spend time in the middle and take your time to assess the wicket and work out what score you need to put on the board.
This is going to be very important. You have to look at the fifth bowler option as well, especially when two right-handers or two left-handers are batting together. So, after the regular bowlers, Sachin, Sehwag and I have to bowl well. Whoever is bowling well on a particular day should bowl the most that day.
On the middle order
We have enough experience in the middle order. There’s Rahul, there’s Dhoni. These guys have done very well in different situations. So we have the experience to tackle any situation. But then, it depends on whether we can all come together and execute the plan when required.
Importance of building on starts
It is very important to make the most of it when you are well set because you can't make runs in every match. Whoever gets a good start will have to bat till the end. The rest will have to work around him. That's what the team's aim will be.
Obviously in our team, every batsman, the openers or the middle order, has a different role. One will play an attacking role, while the other will plan to play through the 50 overs.
We play on wickets like these in India too. So we have a good chance, but the other teams are also doing well. It is going to be a very tough contest. And if we can play to our potential, we will definitely do well.
On his injury and comeback
Obviously, I have worked really hard on my fitness. It wasn't easy coming back from such an injury, so I have to build on it now. The thing is there is still a lot of time before our first game. So, we have time to work on fitness and skills. I am sure that by the time I play my first game, on March 17, I will be fully fit.
On his contribution
I am happy that my contributions have often helped the team win. But it cannot be possible all the time. I am happiest when I score and the team wins. If I score a hundred, or a fifty, and the team doesn't win, it doesn't make a difference.
On the team’s preparations here
It's very important that you come here early, assess the climate, shake off the jetlag. It takes some time to get used to the conditions. You know, the boys have done really well. We have worked really hard over the last three-four days, and everybody is getting used to the conditions.
It's a big event, all the teams have come here early and are spending time playing practice matches. It's very important that before you play the first game, you are totally ready, otherwise there is no point.
Team meetings are important. You have to discuss what you are going to do and make plans. It's a nice place to hang around, go to the beach or sit by the pool, spend some time at a restaurant. The weather is nice and the boys are happy.
On the need for intensity
It is very important that you should be switched on every time. We have gained some momentum from the game against the Netherlands. Now we have a game against the West Indies, so I think it is important to switch on at the right time.
On advantages of playing away
There aren't too many people bothering you, you are not on the phone all the time. This is the best time for me to keep my phone in the room and simply hang around. It's quite relaxing and you get enough time to mentally prepare yourself for practice and the matches. This is the perfect scenario.
In India, if we are doing an interview, there will be a thousand people standing. So sometimes, it's good for your peace of mind that you are abroad.
On the supposedly easier games
Obviously, you have to look ahead, but you have to go step by step. We have to make plans against Bermuda... Bangladesh have beaten New Zealand in a practice game, and they are indeed a tough side on their day. In an event like this, you can't take any team lightly.