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'Hard Work Paying Off'

'When I came over (to Australia), the seniors kept telling me these were my kind of wickets. I too sensed the ball would come on and I would get value for my shots'

Ashish Shukla INTERVIEWS | 27 January 2004
'Hard Work Paying Off'
AP
'Hard Work Paying Off'
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Yuvraj Singh's top class show in the tri-series so far can be attributed to the homework the aggressive left-hander did while watching his team-mates in action against Australia in the Test matches.

He was itching to have a crack at the world champions ever since and batted to his heart's fill when he smashed that mighty 139 against the hosts last week.

"I was watching those Tests on the telly and given the way our batters were batting, I was itching to bat on these wickets," Yuvraj said in an interview.

The Indian's aggressive century led Ricky Ponting to describe him as one of the best strikers in the game around and his own captain to admit it was one of the finest one-day hundreds he had witnessed.

"When I came over, the seniors kept telling me these were my kind of wickets and I should enjoy striking the ball here," said Yuvraj. "I too sensed the ball would come on to the bat and I would get value for my shots."

Yuvraj said he carried the confidence of a half century against Zimbabwe from the previous innings at the Gabba and was lucky he had extra overs to settle himself down.

"Usually when I come to the crease, there are not many overs left. But this was different and I allowed myself to settle down before playing my range of shots.

Yuvraj clobbered every Australian bowler on view but remembers a pull against Jason Gillespie as a shot which sticks to his memory.

"It is not easy to hit bowlers of the calibre of (Brett) Lee and Gillespie. I liked that pull against Gillespie because he is not the kind of bowler you can pull easily. He did not like it but then no fast bowler likes being pulled." Yuvraj also swept Andrew Symonds to good effect which riled the sturdy Queenslander as he is normally a very stingy customer in one-day cricket.

"I didn't want to sweep him but he drifted down the legside and I was drawn into sweep shots." Yuvraj is bursting at the seams with talent but knows he would have to come to terms with the situation -- a Test spot looks unlikely and in one-dayers he will not be coming up the order soon.

"I don't blame anyone for this situation. I am a batsman but there are others who are settled and producing runs. I will have to wait for my turn. I am just happy to come to the crease and bat, be it domestic or international cricket."

Yuvraj has lately turned an opener in domestic cricket and sees it as the only avenue where he could force his way into the Test team.

"I played a Test and got out cheaply and have not played since then. I realised I must turn an opener if I have to bat in a Test eleven. Saurav (Ganguly) too told me that is the only option left for me if I have Test ambitions.

Yuvraj continues to work on his batting and feels he needs to improve his skills against spinners as well as on footwork when the ball is doing a bit.

"Obviously there are areas where I need to improve. I need to improve against spinners for I seem to get out a lot to them. I also need to improve my footwork when the ball is doing a bit." Yuvraj remains an outstanding fielder square of the wicket and said he sometimes misses Mohammad Kaif who is equally good at covers.

"Together we had forged a good understanding but I try to do whatever I can do best in the field." Yuvraj also does not forget to mention V.V.S. Laxman and the form the Hyderabadi batsman is exhibiting on this tour.

"It is his kind of wicket where the ball is coming on to bat. But he has batted like a God on this tour.

PTI

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