Yuvraj Singh a 'champion player' and 'match-winner', says MS Dhoni

Yuvraj Singh scored a 26-ball 34 on his comeback match against New Zealand in the second T20 AFP

Colombo: Sep 12, 2012

The Indian cricket team arrived in Colombo for the Twenty20 World Cup with captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni saying that he has a “very good team” which is capable of regaining the coveted trophy.

“We are a team which relies strongly on batting. But some of the top batsmen also play the role of part-timers. In T20 cricket, part-timers are very important. Our part-timers have been doing well. So we have a very good team,” Dhoni told reporters after arriving here.

“The youngsters are really hungry to do well. We are the world champions in 50-over format and it is important we do well in the Twenty20 World Cup. We have to be at our best in this format and we don’t have time to recover as compared to Test or ODI,” he said.

Dhoni said switching from Test cricket to Twenty20 format would be difficult but his team has the experience of making the adjustment for the World Cup.

India played two Test matches against New Zealand and a Twenty20 International against the same opponents before embarking for the T20 World Cup and Dhoni said it was not easy to switch from the longest to the shortest format.

“It’s quite difficult to switch formats, especially from Test to T20. The way you approach a game is different in all the three formats and you have to adjust. But it is not that you cannot do it, only thing is that your basics will have to be right,” he said.

“But as professional cricketers we have to do that and players like Virender Sehwag have been playing in three formats and doing well,” he said.

Dhoni, who led India to title in the first edition in 2007, said that part-timers, like come-back man Yuvraj Singh, will have to play a big role if India will have to lift the trophy once again.

Dhoni refused to answer whether Yuvraj Singh’s inclusion in the team after recovering from a rare germ cell cancer was an emotional decision or on form but said that star batsman was an asset in the side.

“I can’t answer that question relating to selection of the team. It’s a selection matter. But I am happy that he is in the team as he is a champion player and a match-winner.

He also brings a balance in the team as in T20 cricket you don’t include a fifth bowler,” said Dhoni.

“We also don’t have a genuine all-rounder so we have to rely on part-time bowlers who are specialist batsmen. Yuvraj is one and we have Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Suresh Raina.

They will chip in an over each and that makes a lot easier for us,” he said.

Asked about the conditions in Sri Lanka, Dhoni said that the pitches in the island country have changed in recent years and his side will have to analyse them.

“I feel the conditions in Sri Lanka have changed a lot in the past years. When we came here in 2005, the wickets were different and when we came here last time, the wickets were different. The spinners did not get much help from the pitches in the five ODIs and one T20 match we played here in our last tour,” he said.

“For example, if a ground is hosting many matches, then it will slow down and the spinners will get help. So we have to see the conditions and plan accordingly.”

He also warned his players not to get complacent against Afghanistan against whom India open their campaign on September 19.

“We respect all our opponents and we cannot be complacent. In international cricket, no side can take the opposition team lightly,” he said.