Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni believes in keeping his emotions under check and as a leader, he wants to guard Yuvraj Singh from the hype surrounding the World Cup hero’s comeback against New Zealand in the first T20 match here tomorrow.
“I feel we need to keep as normal as possible. Don’t create the hype around him,” Dhoni told reporters during the pre-match media interaction.
On the eve of the match, it was Yuvraj Singh who remained the centre of attention during India’s practice session. From the scribes, lensmen, to ACA officials and those gathered at ground to watch the team train, each and every movement made by Yuvraj was being covered with minutest detail.
And Dhoni feels that the manner in which Yuvraj’s comeback from a rare germ cell cancer is being covered, it will only increase the burden on the cricketer.
“The whole world is talking about his comeback in a manner as if they are helping him out. In a way, it puts the burden on the individual. It’s important to keep it as normal as possible. Not to let him think what has really happened in his life,” he said.
Terming Yuvraj as a strong character, Dhoni said that what is important now is that the stylist left-hander should enjoy his second innings. He seemed to be at ease as he middled most of the deliveries and also launched into spinners Piyush Chawla and Ravichandran Ashwin.
“He has fought through it as he is a strong character. As I said, he needs to turn up and just enjoy his cricket. That’s what he has done from age-group cricket till now. So he should not think about anything else,” Dhoni said.
“The manner in which he joked and fooled around seemed as if he has never ever been away from his team-mates. He looked happy and while enjoying a game of soccer, he even showed his predatory instincts by scoring a goal. Right now, we had a soccer session, followed by a net session. He looks very joyful,” he said.
Dhoni did admit that he missed Yuvraj’s company and it is indeed a joyous occasion that the talented batsman is back in the thick of things as he looked good during the two-hour session.
“We missed him for a long time. He has gone through tough times. But the good thing is he is enjoying it. We missed him for close to a year now. We are hoping that he comes back strong enjoys the game. We just want him to turn up on the field and enjoy the game.”
At the practice session, Yuvraj’s focus and determination was evident as he batted for 20 minutes —— 10 minutes each in the two nets designated for pacers and spinners. Although he looked a little exhausted during the football practice as he huffed and puffed after 30 minutes, the intent was never missing.
The manner in which he flicked Dinda and then lofted Chawla made it clear clear that he is gearing up for a pitched battle. In fact, a big hit off Ashwin landed at the adjacent NH-5 highway.
Dhoni’s opposite number Ross Taylor however said on-field, there won’t be any love lost when Yuvraj comes out to bat.
“It’s great to see him back in action but when we are on-field, it’s going to be very competitive. Once we are off the field, we are all friends,” the New Zealand skipper reacted to a question asked on Yuvraj’s comeback.