Yuvraj Singh has admitted that losing the second one-dayer at Jamaica, by a one-run margin, had been a "shattering" experience. He asserted that the defeat hadn't come about because of India "under-estimating" West Indies, and felt that "nobody were favourites" for the third one-dayer at St. Kitts.
"We were not that surprised," he said when asked about West Indies' fightback. "We knew the wicket was slow and it was tough to bat on it. You can't lose early wickets when you're chasing and we lost some. But I thought we can still win if I stayed till the end. I've done it in the past. We don't want to under-estimate anyone, especially a team that has Chris Gayle and Lara. We know we need to play to our best."
Considering the rate at which Yuvraj has been reeling off gems - three hundreds and six fifties in the last seven months - the only person who could tell you the quality of the last innings was probably himself. "Had we won the game, I would have rated it as my best. It was a slow wicket and I was batting with the tail. To pull it off from that stage would have been incredible for me. Now you can say it was one of my best innings."
India's recent successes have meant, as Rahul Dravid pointed out, that the tailenders haven't had much time out in the middle. Yet, Yuvraj preferred to talk about himself. "If at all anyone has to be blamed, it's me. I was there till the end and should have finished it. It was very tough for a new batsman coming in to bat on that wicket."
In the 44 games prior to the Sri Lanka home series in October, he had a mere five fifties and a hundred. There have been several reasons for Yuvraj transformation. "I'm getting a chance to bat higher up the order sot that gives me more time. I've been playing international cricket for five years now and have always wanted to take my game to a certain level. I'm beginning to do that and I need to go on from here. There are many reasons for it - reading books, talking to Greg [Chappell] about the mental side of my batting, support from family ..."
Siddhartha Vaidyanathan is staff writer of Cricinfo