"I don't blame people for not having trust in me when I came back from cancer; I myself took a while to have the same confidence in my game"
Yuvraj Singh has credited MS Dhoni for showing him "the real picture" over his international future when he was dropped from the ODI set-up for good in mid-2017, not long after travelling to the Caribbean where he struggled. Coming as it did soon after India's runners-up finish at the Champions Trophy, where he managed just 105 runs in four innings, spelt the end of the road for Singh.
"When I made my comeback, Virat Kohli [the captain] supported me. Had he not backed me then I wouldn't have made a comeback," Singh told Network18. "Obviously, I had performed in domestic cricket [for Punjab]. But then it was Dhoni who showed me the correct picture on the 2019 World Cup and that selectors are not looking at you.
"He showed me the real picture. He did whatever he could, but sometimes as captain, you can't justify for everyone. Captains worldwide have got stick, be it Sourav Ganguly or Ricky Ponting. Supporting or not supporting is individual choice. He [Dhoni] gave me clarity. Jitna unse ho saka unhone kiya [He did as much as he could]."
Singh, the star of India's 2011 World Cup win when Dhoni was the captain, had made a comeback to the ODI side only earlier that year - after last playing the format in December 2013 - and made his ODI best of 150 against England in Cuttack in his second comeback match. But he managed just one more half-century in a run of eight innings after that till he was left out.
"Till the 2011 World Cup, MS had a lot of confidence in me and used to tell me that 'you are my main player'. But after coming back from illness, the game changed and a lot of changes happened in the team," Singh said. "You can't pinpoint these things; captains have to take the team forward. So as far as the 2015 World Cup is concerned, you can't really pinpoint at something. So this is a very personal call.
"So I understood that as a captain, sometimes you can't justify everything because at the end of the day you have to see how the country performs. Every captain supports certain players. I felt MS supported Suresh Raina and Ravindra Jadeja when they struggled a lot. Virat has supported KL. I don't blame people for not having trust in me when I came back from cancer; I myself took a while to have the same confidence in my game."
Since retiring in June 2019, Singh has featured in the Global T20 Canada league and the T10 League in Abu Dhabi. Recently, he was appointed mentor of the Punjab team ahead of their training camp in Mohali. "I'm looking forward to mentoring. There may be a few international leagues. I haven't decided on whether I'll play domestic cricket again, but overall, I have no regrets," he said. "I wasn't in a good space mentally [last year], didn't get chances in the IPL. But now, I'm looking forward to this. I'm attached to Punjab cricket. I want these guys to go on and play for India."