India in Pakistan 2003-04 April 14, 2004

'I am not as positive as Sehwag' - Yuvraj Singh

Yuvraj Singh spoke to Wisden Cricinfo about the innings that launched his Test career

It took one blistering century to propel Yuvraj Singh into the Test team. His 112 in the second Test at Lahore created big problems for the think-tank. They could not keep him out of the side and were forced to drop Aakash Chopra for the decider at Rawalpindi. Yuvraj spoke to Wisden Cricinfo about his sensational start to his Test career:

'I used to get goose-bumps when I thought of scoring a Test hundred' © AFP

What were you doing in the dressing-room before you went out to bat?
Most of the boys sit in one place and concentrate on the game. I do concentrate on the game but I can't sit in one place. I just talk to everyone but I keep an eye on the game. Actually it's very strange, I was pretty relaxed. I batted in the nets before that innings and I was feeling pretty good. Normally I am very nervous but this time I wasn't that nervous. I just started to bat and the feeling was very good on that day.

Was the fact that you were the last recognised batsman playing on your mind when the score was 137 for 7?
Obviously a lot of things play on your mind when you're batting. This might happen and this might not. The best thing you can do when you're batting is not to think too much, and wait for the next ball.

Is scoring a Test hundred something you always dreamt about?
When I was a kid I imagined what it would be like to get a Test hundred. I got goose-bumps thinking about that. Actually I imagined that feeling on the same day and when wickets fell I thought we wouldn't get 200.

The moment when you reached your century, was it just like you had imagined it would be?
It was a great feeling for me. It was the day I scored a hundred in a Test match, but I couldn't really enjoy that feeling because the team was not in a good situation. We reached 287, but it wasn't a great score. Still, from 137 for 7 we reached 287 and it was a fighting total.

When you came onto the international scene you were seen as brash and immature. Have you changed as a person since?
Things change and people change. You change as you play and you gain experience. You talk to seniors and you learn about changing your game in pressure situations. I remember how Sachin [Tendulkar] played in the first game and the way he batted with [Virender] Sehwag. His concentration was immense and the way he played every ball, ball by ball, and still got 194 not out. That was an education.

'I don't rely on technique, I go in and play my shots' © AFP

Why was it so important that you play Test cricket?
For a spectator point of view, Test cricket is not important; people hardly watch Test cricket. But as a player, Tests are the real thing. You have to concentrate for five days. It's a lot of time, and not easy to do it day in and day out. If people have played 70-100 Tests it's a lot of cricket, a lot of concentration and dedication.

People have said you don't have the technique to be a Test opener ...
I never cared about what people said. Basically technique is important but you also have to make runs. You rely on self-confidence and the way you bat. I don't rely on technique, I go in and play my shots. People always praise you when you've done well. You have to watch out when you fail in two or three innings. It's obvious that comments are going to be good when you've done well and comments are going to be bad when you've failed. That's part of the game.

Do comments of this sort affect you?
When you fail people start making comments, that your technique is not right and that your attitude is not right. But I don't really care much about that, I just want to play my game.

You've made the most of several pressure situations. Would you say you thrive on pressure?
I always back myself in the pressure situations. I know that I have done well batting at No. 6 when the team was down. I have won games for India from that situation. I like being under pressure, doing well and taking the team back on top. I've done well in these situations and I am confident I will continue to do well in these situations in the future.

You've opened in domestic cricket with some success, but that's hardly enough preparation is it?
There's a huge difference between domestic and international cricket. The atmosphere and the bowling are totally different. You have to have a different mindset and discipline in international cricket. As far as opening is concerned, obviously if I don't get a place in the middle order I'll open. Test cricket is really important to me.

You're an aggressive batsman yourself. What is it like batting with Sehwag?
The best thing about Sehwag is his mindset. He doesn't really care about feet movement or technique, he just wants to hit the ball. His attitude towards cricket is really good. If he gets a duck or a hundred he's the same, so I think his mindset is perfect for an opener. I am not as positive as Sehwag. If I can get a mindset like him, then maybe I can be a smashing player like him.