'It is like being selected for the first time' - Yuvraj
The selection is expected to mark Yuvraj's return to the Indian team for the first time in just under 12 months during which he was diagnosed with a rare germ-cell cancer called mediastinal seminoma. After undergoing chemotherapy in the USA for close to two months, Yuvraj has been training in the NCA for the last six weeks with the aim of getting back into the Indian team.
On being told that he had cancer Yuvraj said he had told himself, "that one day I would come back and play for India again. I was determined to do that. However much I had to go through with the cancer, I kept the faith because I wanted to step on the field again one day. Today I've got the news that I am going to be stepping on the field again. I am ecstatic. I can't wait to step on the field and wave the Indian flag!"
He said that while the fitness and recovery reports from the NCA had been encouraging enough for him to expect being selected again, "Everyone was talking about whether I should be picked or not, so I wasn't sure. I heard the [selection] news on the TV. It is as if I was being picked for India again - that same feeling that I can't explain."
While he said he had not been in touch with the selectors while training at the NCA for the last six weeks, he said the fitness reports would have indicated to the selectors that he had made enough progress. The BCCI had been, "very supportive," he said, of his recovery programme and that the selectors had showed, "immense confidence in me. I want to thank a lot of people, friends, colleagues, doctors, physios and trainers for this day."
His return to training over the last two months was preceded by a light two-week training programme, "to get into that training mode." It was the first three weeks of actual training at the NCA, Yuvraj said, which "were the toughest because the body was not used to the pain you get from training." But he said that he began to get more used to the regimen, "and after six weeks of training, I think I am now in good shape." He said, "I have another month or so to go for the World T20 so this month is going to be very crucial for me getting ready." It was expected that Yuvraj would play a few games in the Buchi Babu invitational tournament before the two T20 games against New Zealand. However, it is now learnt that an attempt is being made to ensure that Yuvraj gets some match practice with the white ball which may take place at NCA.
Yuvraj's target for his return to international cricket were the two T20s versus New Zealand to be played in Visakhapatnam on September 8 and Chennai on September 11. About his plans on making a comeback to the ODI and the Test teams, he said, "ODIs and Tests are tougher on the body, but T20 is the place to start. I hope to get stronger for longer formats with time."