At the IPL 2019 auction in Jaipur on Tuesday, Yuvraj Singh went unsold in the Round 1 and was only saved by a late bid from Mumbai Indians. Yuvraj, who entered into the auction with a base price of Rs 1 crore, was fetched by MI for the same amount.
In an exclusive interview with Mumbai Mirror, Yuvraj talked about his last-minute bid and also made it clear that he still has a burning desire to play and be competitive.
"There is fire in the belly, I'm keen to be competitive. 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 quoted.
Reflecting on his appointment by the Mumbai franchise, the southpaw said he had expected him to go unsold in the first round.
"There was no disappointment as such because I had an idea that I would not be picked in the first round. 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,” Yuvraj remarked.
"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," he further asserted.
Yuvraj had a disappointing IPL 2018 for his home based franchise Kings XI Punjab. The left-hander had managed to aggregate only 65 runs in 8 matches. However, he explained that the poor performance had a lot to do with an unsettled batting position.
“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," Yuvi 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," he elaborated.
When asked about his retirement plans, Yuvraj said he will take a call after the 2019 World Cup in England.
"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," he concluded.