Yuvraj Singh: I was very keen to see Washington Sundar on the side if we are not picking up Yuzi
Although the Indian team is full of talented players, 2011 World Cup hero Yuvraj Singh feels that either wrist spinner Yuzvendra Chahal or Washington Sundar should have been included in the squad while Senior off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin was brought in to fill Axar’s spot.
Due to a quadriceps tear, all-rounder Axar Patel was forced to withdraw from the ICC World Cup 2023. Senior off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin was brought in to fill his spot. As Chahal and Washington were ruled out from the final 15-man squad, Ashwin was included for the ODI series against Australia.
“I personally feel the only miss on this side is Yuzvendra Chahal. I think the only aspect that is missing from this team is a leg-spinner,”Yuvraj told PTI in an exclusive interview.
“I was very keen to see Washington Sundar in the side if we are not picking up Yuzi. But maybe the team wanted an experienced bowler, so that is why I think they went with R Ashwin,”said one of India’s greatest ODI cricketers.
Yuvraj talked on the sidelines of an event, organized by Vicks, to release the World Cup anthem.
According to a former India batter, Jasprit Bumrah’s performance will have a significant impact on India’s World Cup campaign at home.
Bumrah recently made his comeback to the Indian team for the T20I series against Ireland after a long injury lay-off. He also put out strong efforts in the Asia Cup.
“Jasprit is a match-winner like Zak (Zaheer Khan) did for us back in 2011. What makes Jasprit a threat is he has skill and pace. He is an asset to the team.
“To make a comeback from the back injury at this stage is quite big too. As a team you feel confident to have bowlers like that, they win you matches in any situation.”
Yuvraj, who won player of the tournament during the 2011 World Cup, was happy to see Bumrah’s progressing cricketing maturity.
“Bumrah has matured in the last couple of years, he has captained India and has become a smart bowler. Rohit knows how to use him wisely, especially because he has captained Bumrah in the Mumbai Indians,” said Yuvraj.
“The advantage with Bumrah is that initially, he can get wickets with pace but when he starts going for runs, his skillset will come into play. There will be days when you will win a game after scoring 300 or 350-plus but these kinds of bowlers like Bumrah are needed to defend scores like 250s and 260s,” he said.
The 41-year-old was also chuffed to see the form of India’s middle-order batters.
“It is a good thing that all our middle-order batters – KL (Rahul), Ishan (Kishan) and Shreyas Iyer – are in good form. But the team management needs to decide the 11 and combination ahead of the tournament that will give the team a settled look,” he said.
Yuvraj has experience in winning the World Cup, having played for India’s winning teams in the T20 WC in 2007 and the 50-over WC in 2011.
He expressed that as soon as Gary Kirsten became the team’s head coach, India began preparing for the 2011 World Cup.
“We started planning for the World Cup from the day Gary came on board. The first step was to get to the No. 1 ranking in all formats – whether it is ODI cricket or Tests. When the World Cup came, we had a lot of players who were at the peak of their careers. The younger generation too had matured. So, it became a complete team effort,”he said.
Ahead of the 2011 big bash, Yuvraj was battling injuries and other health difficulties, which were eventually determined to be cancer.
So, how did he manage to rise above those obstacles?
“I was battling injuries ahead of the World Cup…neck, fingers…and other health-related issues as I was not able to breathe properly. I had to put aside all of those things and concentrate on one goal, which was the World Cup.
“When you were playing in a physical state like that, you had to put the body on the line. I think to win a World Cup after 28 years, an effort like that was needed.”
After nearly three decades, India had just won their second 50-over World Cup, and Yuvraj was hoping that Rohit Sharma and his team would break India’s 12-year wait for a third trophy at home next month.
“I love these guys as I get along with every one of them and I have also played with some of them. I feel that Virat and Rohit deserve a World Cup. So, everyone needs to put their body on the line for such a big stage,”he said.
Yuvraj also advised the present bunch to stay away from distractions during the World Cup.
“I would tell them to stay away from distractions for the next 40 or 45 days…media, friends and everything. They need to focus on the game exclusively. Sachin paaji (Tendulkar) used to tell us that,”he signed off.
India squad for World Cup 2023: Rohit Sharma (c), Hardik Pandya (vc), Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, KL Rahul, Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Shardul Thakur, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Ishan Kishan, Surya Kumar Yadav.