Exactly a year ago when India were playing the 50-over World Cup, it was difficult to imagine Yuvraj Singh making a comeback into the team that was brimming with youthful exuberance.
Even more difficult was entertaining thoughts of Ashish Nehra, forced into international exile post the 2011 World Cup triumph, donning the blue jersey once again.
Cut to 2016, with a cumulative age of 70, the 36-year-old Nehra and 34-year-old Yuvraj have become important to Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s World T20 title aspirations.
So much so that Dhoni is ready to let Nehra maintain his own “disciplined routine” and “remain fit” till the end of the World T20. With Yuvraj, he likes his “approach” and wants to be “patient” as contributions like “12 or 15” from the southpaw are “equally important”.
When he was quizzed about Yuvraj’s approach during his brief innings of 15 against Bangladesh in the Asia Cup opener, Dhoni said: “I think the approach was good. All of a sudden, you don’t want to go out there thinking that you want to do all those things. What’s important is to play deliveries according to its merit.
“He played a fabulous shot through mid-off. Even if he scored 15 runs, he got confidence. More he plays, he will become a different player. He needs a bit of time.
“It doesn’t really matter as to how many he scores but his approach was good. Few more like this situation will help us. I am not saying we want to lose three wickets but situations like these will help him (Yuvraj),” the skipper said.
As for Nehra, the skipper praised the left-arm fast bowler’s knowledge about his own body.
“Well, the beauty of Ashish Nehra is that he knows what he needs to do to be 100 per cent (fit) on the field. One of the major concerns about him was his fitness, he had a tendency of breaking down. He had a fixed routine.
“It’s like these are the things I need to do and whatever happens, he will follows that. That is the reason, he is so disciplined and is playing at the age of 36 or 37,” said Dhoni.
The skipper also agreed that the format suits him.
“The format suits him. It will be difficult for him to play 50 overs as he needs to be on field for three to three and half hours. In this format, the kind of experience he has, it really counts.
“He effortlessly bowls at decent pace and can swing the ball. All of that helps us. That is the reason we want him to keep him fit till the end of World T20. We have a lot of games to play,” concluded the skipper.