"It feels like I am in Punjab again. There are so many Indians here, and they are all so welcoming." Yuvraj said, speaking to ICC social media accounts ahead of the match.
"The important thing is that we have been able to play well and deliver the results to give the joy to our fans which is important at the end of the day. So yeah, it feels really good to play in Birmingham."
Yuvraj, a 35-year old veteran of 299 one-day internationals is on the cusp of becoming only the fifth Indian cricketer to have played 300 ODIs. Yuvraj will follow the likes of Mohammed Azharuddin, Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid to the landmark when he takes to the field against Bangladesh in the semi-final of the 2017 ICC Champions Trophy and stays as passionate about contributing to India's success as he was in his first match.
"It is a big achievement for me to complete 300 games for India. When I started playing I was just happy to play for the country. Been a long journey and there have been a few ups and downs. Not looking to do anything extraordinary, just contribute to the team's cause. The team is bigger than my landmark," Yuvraj said on the sidelines of Team India's practice session ahead of the semi-final.
He played pivotal roles in India's triumphant campaigns of the 2007 WT20 and 2011 ICC World Cup. But a bout with cancer ensured Yuvraj had to take a sabbatical from the game. He came back rejuvenated but a string low-key performances meant Yuvraj's future with the Indian ODI team looked bleak after being ignored for the 2015 ICC World Cup.
But the street-fighter within wanted more and a great run in the domestic circuit saw him return to India colours earlier this year, after a gap of four long years. Yuvraj celebrated his return with a vintage century, a career-best knock of 150 against England at Cuttack, that helped India seal the series. And the man credits his fighting spirit for being able to make so many comebacks.
First Published: June 15, 2017, 1:05 PM IST