It is good to be challenged: Yuvraj

After a thumping hundred on Sunday for India ‘A’, Yuvraj says he’s just happy to score some runs.

Yuvraj and Pathan added 125 runs in 55 balls.

BANGALORE: That he was back to his best – in his first competitive game in almost four months - was frankly obvious in the manner that Yuvraj Singh constructed his scorching hundred: a watchful crawl to begin with, then a slight opening of the shoulders, and finally the unapologetic arrogance that has been the hallmark of this once-burly murderer of bowlers.

RELATED: Yuvraj, Yusuf smash West Indies 'A'

Pathan and Yuvraj added 85 runs in a period of four overs. “Just five years,” he quipped when complimented on having regained his youthful looks, “most people say I look at least ten years younger.”

“It has taken a lot of time for my body to heal, but it's getting better and better. Tim (Exeter) has done wonders for Zak (Zaheer Khan) and me. I shed weight, worked on my diet and lung capacity…I just wanted to get sharper on the field. I’m feeling stronger now and also quicker…those are the aspects we worked on. I also thank the National Cricket Academy who have played big part in my comeback.”

Lean and lithe after a gruelling six week-long stint with a European high-performance fitness trainer, Yuvraj on Sunday afternoon was without a boundary to his name in the first 38 deliveries he faced.

His half-century contained 36 runs gathered the hard way (singles and doubles), and at no point during the sedate section of his knock did he appear to dissipate into a shot of frustration.

“That’s how I usually bat…get to 30-35 and then increase the tempo. I am a middle-order batsman and my job is to guide the team to the end,” he added.

SUPER SIXES

The sluice gates opened soon enough, as was expected, and when they did runs flowed like a cataract hurtling downhill.

Of his seven hits that cleared the ropes, one stood out, when, soon after reaching three figures, he picked up a Ronsford Beaton yorker from outside off-stump and sent it clattering into the lower wall of the media enclosure.

He credited the calming influence of a steady partnership with Mandeep Singh for providing him with a stable launch-pad.

“Once you’re batting with a set batsman, it allows you to play yourself in. The work put in by Robin (Uthappa) and Mandeep allowed Yusuf (Pathan) and I to cash in later.”

The 31-year-old, who has an eye on returning to India’s senior set-up, put forth a persuasive case for his inclusion, and said he wasn’t too perturbed by the new crop of talent staking a claim to his place in the team.

“It’s good that youngsters are doing well. It’s good to be challenged -- that brings out the best in me.”

FRUITFUL DOWNTIME

After waging a successful battle against a rare germ-cell cancer soon after his memorable World Cup 2011 campaign, Yuvraj returned to India’s ranks for the Twenty20 World Cup and the home ODIs against Pakistan and England.

He was subsequently dropped as a nucleus of young players emerged, and, an insipid IPL later, Yuvraj spent his downtime wisely, getting back into a state of fitness that had eluded him even before he was stricken by the deadly illness.

"I had a back injury during this IPL and things just didn't go my way," he explained.

Having scored his first century in almost nine months, the southpaw chose to count his blessings, rather than dwell on the future.

“I got an opportunity to play, that’s a big thing for me. I’m just happy I scored some runs. Hopefully, I won’t have to wait as long for my next hundred.”

SOCIAL MEDIA REACTIONS:





Matches

MORE TOP STORIES TODAY

Bangalore's arsenal blazes to victory

Bangalore's arsenal blazes to victory

Yuvraj Singh was back to his best in his first match for Royal Challengers Bangalore. More »

Time for Chennai to enter familiar cocoon

Time for Chennai to enter familiar cocoon

Chennai have been able to purchase batting replacements for the loss of Michael Hussey and spin reinforcements in the form of Samuel Badree. They appear… More »

Evenly matched Rajasthan and Hyderabad face-off

Evenly matched Rajasthan and Hyderabad face-off

A quality that defines Rajasthan and Hyderabad is consistency. Rajasthan was one among two teams to enjoy complete dominance at home last season. Hyderabad… More »

BCCI to meet before next court hearing

BCCI to meet before next court hearing

The BCCI will hold an emergent working committee meeting on April 20 to discuss the future course of action with regard to the Supreme Court hearing concerning… More »

Kallis, Narine star in Knight Riders’ crushing win

Kallis, Narine star in Knight Riders’ crushing win

An all-round display saw Knight Riders thump Mumbai Indians by 41 runs in the IPL-7 opener. More »

Gavaskar wants a clean IPL

Gavaskar wants a clean IPL

"Integrity is non-negotiable..." says the BCCI's interim chief ahead of Season 7 of the tainted league. More »

'Yak' Kallis still on top of his game

'Yak' Kallis still on top of his game

The 38-year-old South African veteran turned it on for Kolkata Knight RIders in the opening match of IPL-7. More »

Srinivasan named in fixing report: SC

Srinivasan named in fixing report: SC

The court emphasised that the tainted administrator can no longer work for the BCCI. More »

Yuvraj happy to play for RCB: Kohli

Yuvraj happy to play for RCB: Kohli

New-look RCB will play their first game of IPL-7 on Thursday. More »

Shane Watson issues moral warning

Shane Watson issues moral warning

'Everyone knows what is right and what is wrong and if you do the wrong thing it will be found out' More »

Why I'm not looking forward to the IPL

Why I'm not looking forward to the IPL

Welcome to another season of a league that many watch but few trust. More »

IPL: News Line

IPL: News Line

A round-up of all the news from this season of the IPL. More »

Johnson may quit T20s for Tests

Johnson may quit T20s for Tests

Australia's Mitchell Johnson may quit limited-overs cricket to prolong his test career with an eye on the 2015 Ashes series in England, the fast bowler… More »

Nepal players call off boycott

Nepal players call off boycott

Thaw in relations after formation of an advisory committee that would work in tandem with the Cricket Association of Nepal. More »

There's a lot going on: Fleming

There's a lot going on: Fleming

He experienced anxious moments in the lead-up to the tournament as the courts decided on whether to suspend the franchise, he said, but stressed that the… More »

Latif couldn’t work with tainted players

Latif couldn’t work with tainted players

Former Pakistan cricket captain Rashid Latif said Tuesday he turned down the job of national chief selector because he could not work with ex-players tainted… More »

We are not over-confident: Bailey

We are not over-confident: Bailey

Indian Premier League — George Bailey-led Kings XI Punjab will face Chennai Super Kings on Friday. More »

Big runs expected, with bat and ball

Big runs expected, with bat and ball

Royal Challengers Bangalore: Their main concern, once again, is the fast bowling More »

Taxing issue — BCCI hits roadblock

Taxing issue — BCCI hits roadblock

MoU between BCCI & its units to avoid double taxation delayed after a few decline to share details. More »

Black Caps pick rookie duo for West Indies

Black Caps pick rookie duo for West Indies

New Zealand selectors included two new caps in a 15-man Test squad named Tuesday to tour the West Indies, with injury-hit spinner Dan Vettori's future… More »

The stage is set for IPL-7 to start

The stage is set for IPL-7 to start

The Preview — Defending champions Mumbai Indians take on Kolkata Knight Riders More »

Srinivasan appeals to court to allow BCCI comeback

Srinivasan appeals to court to allow BCCI comeback

He was aggrieved by the allegations against him during the hearing. More »

India: cricket's Brazil

India: cricket's Brazil

They are tough to beat with a big talent base exposed to good facilities. (CYCSPL) More »

Delhi Daredevils say no to gifts

Delhi Daredevils say no to gifts

Franchises are doing their bit to refurbish the image of the tainted league. More »