New Delhi: Flamboyant batsman Yuvraj Singh reckons that the rough patch in his career has made him more mature and wiser cricketer and he is now looking to cement his place in the Test squad.
The left-hander was dropped from both the one-day and Test sides last year following poor form but made a strong comeback in the World Cup, in which he emerged as player of the tournament.
"Yeah it's been a very long time and I won't deny the fact that I have changed for good. Now I am much more mature on and off the field," Yuvraj told said in an interview.
"I have gone through lots of ups and down and have emerged stronger and wiser with experience. I am much more calm and controlled in every aspect of my life," he said.
Given his immense talent, Yurvaj has been an underperformer in Test cricket. He made his Test debut in 2003 against New Zealand but has not been able to cement his place in the side.
The Punjab player wants to carry forward the good work in the one-day format to Test cricket, which he says is now his top priority.
"I am really working hard and I am sure given a chance I would like to put that record straight. I want to restructure my Test career and that is now my main aim.
"Looking back at the last 10 years of my career, I won't deny the fact that I feel little sad about my Test numbers. There could various reasons for that and I am not going into that. But what lies ahead is interesting and challenging," said the star cricketer, who is one of the most feared batsman in ODI and T20 but has a meagre 1639 runs against his name from 34 Tests.
Yuvraj endorsed new coach Duncan Fletcher's view that India could dominate world cricket in the next 5-10 years.
"Duncan is a very experienced coach and if he feels that, I am sure there is reason to it. We have done consistently well for the last few years in all forms of the game. And if we keep the intensity and momentum going we can surely achieve that.
"It is easy to reach at the top but hard to stay there. I am sure with the kind of talented pool we have we should be able to do it," he said.
Yuvraj said he has stopped worrying about what others feel and say about him. Rather he prefers to go by his own instinct and heed to advices of a few close people.
"More often than not I know what I need to do with my game and where I went wrong. And then I have my set of friends, family and well-wishers who give me frank opinion about me. So I take that into account rather than making note of what everybody is saying about me," he said.
"For me the only way to silence your critics is to perform. The same people who were questioning my place in the side before the World Cup were calling me and saying good great things about me. So how can you trust them?
"My job is to work hard, give everything your hundred percent and don't worry about the thing which are not in your control," said the 29-year-old.
Yuvraj acknowledged the guidance batting icon Sachin Tenduklar gave in overcoming his rough patch.
"Ever since I have come into the team, (Sachin) Paaji has always helped me. His advice is invaluable and whenever I have gone through rough patches he has helped me a lot. Before the World Cup also I had a long chat with him and that really helped me."
Now that he forms a part of the core group of seniors, Yuvraj is also keen to share his knowledge of the game with the youngsters.
"Being a senior player means more responsibility. More often than not in a team sport, if your senior players are doing well, (they) take pressure off from the youngsters. And that's what I aim to do as often as possible on and off the field.
"As a youngster I was lucky to have seniors like, Sachin, Rahul, Sourav, Anil and Laxman. They took extra care of us and did everything possible to make us feel comfortable. And that's what I aim to do.
"I tell them about my initial stages, share my experiences with them and the kind of mistakes I had made at their stage. Then it's up to them what they want to pick from it."
After missing out on the West Indies tour due to chest infection, Yuvraj is gearing up for the upcoming England tour.
"I am much better now and have started my fitness routines. One part of the day is spend in the gym and working on endurance and stamina and other part is spend on cricket related activity."
Yuvraj is also involved in a lot of charity work and now plans to start scholarship for poor kids.
"Under Yuvraj Singh Foundation we try to help underprivileged kids in which every capacity we can. Very soon I am coming up with my own state-of-the-art cricket learning coaching centers. And we will create a special scholarship for talented but kids from the poor background. I want to give back to the game in whichever way I can," he said.