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'WI a proper training ground before World Cup'

Yuvraj Singh tells Sunit Kaul that the team has to prepare itself well to play in West Indies.

india Updated: May 12, 2006 16:16 IST

One look at Yuvraj Singh and you know he's naturally destined to be a swashbuckler.

Tall and lanky and so full of exuberance, the 18-year old was blooded into international arena as a maverick teenager who would first leap before looking.

Even though he soon etched his space with his astonishing ability to wield the willow, a spate of inconsistent performances saw him being embarrassingly dropped from the ODI team.

But that was not the end of the story.

He came back with vengeance and consequently showed the world that he could strike the ball with finesse and power - invariably with a straight bat - and at the same time can take on the mantle of a senior player.

He has now repeatedly achieved what is termed by mediocres and average players beyond the bounds of possibility. At 24, his coming of age typifies India's assuredness.

In a candid chat with HindustanTimes.com in the backdrop of him being presented a Ford Fiesta for being the Man-of-the-series against South Africa, the gifted left-hander from Chandigarh gave his views on his recent performance and the road ahead.

Yuvraj, your performance in this season has been terrific. What has been the key difference this time?

I've been in good touch for the past one year. Earlier, I used to think too much while batting out there in the middle. I think, I read situations better now.

You are really stealing all the prizes. 3 Man-of-the-series in 4 tournaments…

Obviously, as a senior player, you tend to take up more responsibility and if you're in-form, it helps the team as a whole.

What has been the defining moment of your career up till now?

When you would have said to yourself - 'This is it, I belong here'

I think, playing in those two matches against Sri Lanka last year gave me the confidence that I belong to international level.

Dhoni in a recent interview said that sportsmen other than cricketers are not getting their due. What's your take?

I agree with Dhoni. Maybe he's saying it because he has just come in the team. But, that's how it is here in India.

Do you see yourself as the captain of Team India in the future?

Every player who spends a reasonable amount of time at international level dreams of making it big. Same is the case with me.

Maybe 5 years down the line, we'll see you as the skipper?

(Laughs) I would be old in 5 years time!

Who has been a better coach - Greg Chappell or John Wright?

They both have different styles of functioning; Both have been equally good.

So how come the team has been performing better in Chappell's tenure?

The difference has been the increased level of fitness. Greg has brought in more innovative ideas towards fitness.

There has been quite a controversy regarding the tight cricketing calendar? What's your take?

I think we're out there to play in the sun and we have to enjoy every moment we play for the team.

What are your plans towards the upcoming Windies tour?

Right now, we've got a bit of a break. And we're keen to enjoy our time-out… But we will be fully focused when we reach there. West Indies would be a proper training ground before the World Cup. We will have to prepare ourselves for more bouncy tracks.

Finally, who hits bigger sixes - you or Dhoni?

(Grins) I think Ganguly hits bigger sixes than me and Dhoni!