Yuvraj Singh
Yuvraj Singh (IANS Photo)

Yuvraj Singh went to England after an ordinary domestic and a forgettable Indian Premier League (IPL) season. There, he trained with a former marine for five weeks and ahead of the domestic season, worked rigorously on his fitness.

He’s now in a good mental space which has reflected on his game too. For Punjab in the ongoing Vijay Hazare Trophy, he struck 264 runs at 37.71 in seven innings. He’s aiming to have one last crack at the ICC World Cup next year before taking a call on his playing career.

“Obviously, I am looking to play cricket till 2019, whatever cricket I get to play,” Yuvraj was quoted as saying by CricketNext on Thursday. “Obviously, selection is not in my hands. What is in my hands is to work hard and get better at whatever I am doing – whether it’s batting, bowling, fielding or my fitness. From when I was dropped last year, I have been thinking that all I can do is focus on myself and my cricket.”

Yuvraj last played an ODI for India in June 2017 before being dropped. At the start of the year, the left-hander scored a career-best 150 as he returned to the ODI setup after a gap of three years. It was his first century since the World Cup in 2011 where he chosen as the man-of-the-tournament. He was part of the India squad for the Champions Trophy last year and after the Windies tour, fell off the radar.

He knows the only way to play for India again is to pile on the runs in domestic cricket. But that doesn’t mean he will deny an upcoming youngster a place in just to brighten his chances.

“If they (youngsters) are selected for India A or if there is nobody (available), I can go and play a few games but I just feel that I don’t want to spoil a youngster’s place because I want to play the World Cup. I don’t want to spoil anybody’s chances in four-day cricket. Obviously, I will get back to training, I am looking forward to playing the T20 domestic tournament and see how it goes,” the 36 year old said.

He further explains, “It would have been ideal for me to play 50-over and T20 cricket,” he explains. “If I play four-day cricket, guys like Anmolpreet (Singh), who got two double-hundreds last season, may have to sit out and that’s very unfair on the guy because he is a very young aspiring player scoring lots of runs in domestic cricket. And Shubman Gill. It will be unfair to take their place.”

Yuvraj, who packs an experience of 40 Tests, 304 ODIs and 58 T20Is, wants to leave the game on his own terms, in a happy space. “My decision to make is that I want to go happily playing the game. I didn’t have a good domestic season last year, I had a bad IPL. I took a break and I thought that if I am looking to play another year or two years, I want to go playing this game happily because this game has given me everything.

“So I went to England for five weeks to a training camp this summer, I worked hard on my fitness. I was in Cirencester, at a habitat centre. I worked with a trainer called James, a former Marine, for five weeks. And when I got back home, I had another three weeks on my own; I had eight weeks of fitness before I started the season.

“I felt that I was fitter, I was stronger compared to last year, when I was not in a good mental space. The key for me has always been to be in a good mental space, that’s when I have played good cricket. I have just focussed on being in a good space and obviously, the results showed. I have been hitting the ball really well and scored a few consistent scores. Let’s see what happens now,” he said.