MS Dhoni hails 'strong character' of Yuvraj Singh after winning his battle with cancer


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The Independent Online

MS Dhoni today paid tribute to Yuvraj Singh as the Indian prepares to return to Test cricket after winning his battle with cancer.

The 30-year-old has not played Test cricket for a year after treatment for a rare form of lung cancer. He made a successful international return in the World T20 before scoring a double century in the Duleep Trophy followed by five wickets and a 50 for India A against England.

Dhoni said today: “He looks in good shape. It takes a lot of fitness to score a double hundred. I’m just hoping he does not have to field for two days. There is no need for the car which is capable of a long haul to be driven the full distance.”

Dhoni said Yuvraj’s recovery is an indication of his character. “He’s aggressive,” said the skipper. “He’s someone who really wants to perform at the top level. The best thing for us is he bats at five or six and is a left-arm spinnner. It’s a very important role for us because we don’t have a genuine all-rounder and play with four bowlers.

“His contribution will be very important. He can be quite intimidating the way he bats. He is someone who can really dominate.

“The good thing is his fight, you all know about his fight [against cancer]. He’s a strong character. He will be up and ready for it.”

Dhoni is looking forward to an entertaining contest between Yuvraj and Kevin Pietersen, who called his rival a pie-chucker for his part-time bowling. “I never doubted that he [Pietersen] would be part of the squad. You will enjoy the contest between him and the pie-chucker,” said Dhoni.

Though Dhoni was not willing to openly say that the wicket at the Motera stadium would crumble at some stage, he expects it to help the spinners.

“It looks like a good wicket, though I am not a great reader of wickets. It may slow down and spinners,” he Dhoni.

However, Dhoni claimed he had not requested that England be denied the chance to face much spin in their warm-up games.

Eyebrows have been raised in the tourists’ camp after they were given the opportunity to deal with nothing more than a few overs from Amit Mishra but Dhoni said: “That’s an administrative decision about which I cannot say. No instructions were sent from my side,” he said.