After being picked up by Mumbai Indians for his base price of Rs 1 crore in the final round of the IPL 2019 player auction, Yuvraj Singh stressed he still has a burning desire to be play and be competitive.
“There is fire in the belly, I’m keen to be competitive," he was quoted as saying by Mumbai Mirror. “The hunger is there, I’m not playing for the sake of playing. I am playing because I want to play and I’m passionate about playing. Hopefully in this season I will be able to deliver."
Yuvraj, 37, went unsold in the first round of the auction before being picked by Mumbai eventually. The left-hand batsman said he wasn’t disappointed at being ignored in the first round, as he had already seen it coming.
“There was no disappointment as such because I had an idea that I would not be picked in the first round," he said. “The reason is obvious. When you are putting together an IPL team, you will be looking at the youngsters. I am at the stage of my career where it could be presumed that I may be in the last stages. I had hoped that there would be buyers for me in the last round.
“Somewhere within me there was a feeling that I might go to Mumbai. Frankly I am looking at an opportunity to play this year and it has come. Akash (Ambani) had some nice things to say about me and it feels good to have such confidence.
“It will also be a familiar environment for me because Zak (Zaheer Khan, director of cricket), Sachin (Tendulkar, the mentor) and Rohit (Sharma, the captain) are there. I have played a lot of cricket with them. Looking forward to playing with them again. When you have support, it motivates you to do well, it brings out the best in you."
Yuvraj struggled in IPL 2018 for Kings XI Punjab, managing just 65 runs from six innings at a strike-rate of 89.04. Yuvraj explained that the poor performance was because of an unsettled batting position.
Yuvraj also said he has not got a chance to settle down in one team in the IPL; Mumbai will be the sixth IPL side he’s representing after Punjab, Pune Warriors India, Royal Challengers Bangalore, Delhi Daredevils and Sunrisers Hyderabad.
“Agreed, that the last season was not great. But the point was I played at different positions in four-five games. I was not given one position to bat. This year I am very keen to make the best of the opportunities that come my way," he said.
“Yes there are one or two teams left for which I’ve not played. It’s been great up and down. It’s a little unfortunate that I’ve not had a chance to get settled at one team. I had a very good season with RCB in 2013 and never got to stay there. After the next auction, I went to Delhi, from there to Hyderabad. But I am actually happy that my last few years will be in Mumbai."
Yuvraj said he’ll take a decision on retirement after the 2019 World Cup.
“I will take a call after the 2019 World Cup. I will take stock about where my life is headed. At the moment the next three-four months are crucial for me in cricket. I want to just focus on that."