A day after some former India players questioned Yuvraj Singh's fitness and asked for him to be dropped, MS Dhoni has reiterated that Yuvraj is in shape for Twenty20 cricket and that his place in the India XI is not in doubt. Yuvraj took 2 for 16 in three overs and made an unbeaten 19 in India's win against Pakistan.
"When it comes to fitness, as far as this format is concerned, he looks very fit for this format," Dhoni said. "I think he has done a lot [of work] in the last few months. It is not like he has played cricket straight in the World Twenty20. Before this he has spent a lot of time at the National Cricket Academy and after that he played a bit of active domestic cricket. He looks good. I am not really concerned about his fitness."
Yuvraj was quite sharp in the field on Sunday, stopping a possible boundary off the first legal delivery of the match with a dive at point. He also ran out Yasir Arafat later with a direct hit from point. He did take some time, though, to catch his breath while batting after running sharp singles or a couple.
Dhoni has repeatedly said he missed Yuvraj the part-time bowler while he was undergoing treatment for cancer. Given how vulnerable India's attack has looked of late, the package of skills Yuvraj offers Dhoni makes him too valuable to be left out. He got the important wickets of Nasir Jamshed and Kamran Akmal, to leave Pakistan struggling at 49 for 4.
"Yuvi was already in the team, the fact whether Yuvi should play or not was not even considered," Dhoni said. "Especially when we play with seven batsmen, the role of the part-timers is very important. Virat [Kohli] is one option but a left-arm away-going option is good to have. Here Yuvi's role is important. We all know that he is a good fielder as well. Today he effected a good run-out as well. If we are playing with four specialist bowlers then it is difficult to leave out Yuvraj.
"And his batting today will give him a lot of confidence, because even if you play in the domestic circuit you don't get bowlers who bowl at the international level. He will take a lot of positives from all these matches. We all know once he gets going he is a terrific batsman to have in the side."