Buoyant Yuvraj raring to tour England to set Test record rig


Staff member
Dubai: The euphoria of being the Man of the Tournament in the World Cup still hasn't yet died down fully, but Yuvraj Singh seems to be ready to move on.

Come this weekend "Yuvi" will be flying out to England trying to settle one more score — that of his record in Tests.

It's been 11 years that he has spent in international cricket so far — and some of his contemporaries have already established themselves as modern day greats in the longer format of the game.

Virender Sehwag has a strike-rate in Test cricket which evokes comparison with the awesome Viv Richards; Harbhajan Singh has just completed 400 Test wickets while Zaheer Khan has consolidated his position as the lynchpin of the Indian pace attack.

The roll of the dice did not quite go Yuvraj's way who, for all the natural talent he has been blessed with, has only 34 Tests to show as against his 274 one-day Internationals. Blame it on the embarrassment of riches that the Indian middle order boasted of when he made his debut in 2000, but there has been the odd occasion when he was found wanting in the test of character that it calls for.

"The middle order was very strong that time with the likes of Ganguly and Laxman… There have been times when I have played ahead of them but things could have been better," he said in an interview with the ICC radio show.

Anomaly to correct

This is an anomaly that Singh — who missed out on the West Indies tour because of a chest infection — wants to set right, should he get the opportunity in the forthcoming away Test series against England.

"In terms of one-day cricket, everything has been good for me, but in terms of Test cricket. I suppose the graph reads a bit up and down. Cricket is my game though and I am going to give this Test series my level best, I will give my 100 per cent," Singh said.

It will be a full strength Indian team against Andrew Strauss and co with Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and V.V.S. Laxman still occupying pride of place in the middle order.

But Singh's chances of making it to the playing XI in the number six spot ahead of somebody like Suresh Raina look quite bright.

Given the depth in the English pace attack at the moment, with the likes of Chris Tremlett and James Anderson firing on all cylinders, Singh's temperament and ability to negotiate the movement as well as bounce will be tested all over again.

"England is one of the best teams but we've been maintaining the number-one ranking for two years and we won in England last time," Singh said in an interview.

"I'm sure if we play to our best potential we can win again."

Granted, England failed to build on their reputation as the current T-20 champions in the last 50-overs World Cup in the sub-continent, but they are expected to be a completely different proposition at home and in this format of the game.

Now on the threshold of 30, Singh certainly has quite a few years of international cricket left in him as a batsman - fitness and form permitting.

Stronger person

What he promises is that the "harsh experiences" of life (read: dropped from one-day team and younger players filling in his shoes in Test cricket) have made him a much stronger person — a lesson that he is not willing to let go in vain.

"I think if I'd not gone through that phase, I would not have done so well at the World Cup," he said.

"I think it helped me to understand how important the Indian colours are for me and I now understand how to get better from here onwards."

His fans, of course, will be watching how he makes the next move!