New Delhi: Debutants Pune Warriors India might have already been knocked out of this year's Indian Premier League (IPL) but skipper Yuvaraj Sigh sounded optimistic of making a strong comeback in the next edition of the Twenty20 tournament.
"This was our first season as a team and hopefully we will do better in the next edition," Yuvraj said. Explaining the inconsistent run of his team in the current edition of the IPL, the left-hander said, "We could not click as a bunch, besides we were hampered by some injuries to key players like Ashish Nehra and Angelo Mathews."
Yuvraj, however, hailed the performance of young Mohnish Mishra and Rahul Sharma. He was particularly impressed by the latter's display and said the lanky leg-spinner has a great future ahead.
"He has done very well. If you see he has taken around 17 wickets in the tournament so far. We are also working on his batting and fielding, he is a bright candidate for one-dayers in the near future," he said during the inauguration of a sports injury center here.
On former Indian captain Sourav Ganguly's come-back to the competitive cricket, Yuvraj said, "He deserved the opportunity but you have to give him some time." The 29-year-old also hailed the play-off format which is being introduced for the first time in the IPL, and described "it is a great system".
Asked about the excess amount of cricket being played these days by international players, Yuvraj said, "We are aware of how much cricket we are playing, it is not that we did not know that IPL will start just after the World Cup. All players prepare themselves accordingly."
The batsman, however, reiterated that senior Indian players like Sachin Tendulkar, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, and Zaheer Khan, who were rested for the upcoming ODI series in the West Indies, deserved a break to refresh themselves ahead of a hectic international schedule.
"Senior players deserved the rest and I believe it is a great opportunity for youngsters to prove their metal.
"There is a few days of break after the IPL. The season ahead is going to be hectic with the team playing in the West Indies followed by a series against England and Australia," Yuvraj said.
On the forthcoming ODI series against the West Indies, the batsman said he was eagerly awaiting for the contest.
Yuvraj also insisted that by virtue of a strong performance in the ODIs, he is eyeing a comeback into the Test squad.
Asked if he would feature in the inaugural Sri Lankan Premier League which gets underway from July 19, he said, "If I am not playing for India, then why not."
Yuvraj also lavished praise on Australian spin wizard Shane Warne, who is scheduled to play his last competitive game against Mumbai Indians on Friday.
"He is a legend of the game and a great captain. He did not get the opportunity to lead the Australian team but he has shown how good he is. It has always been a learning experience to be with him. Salute his career and his performance," he said.
On tomorrow's battle of bottom-rankers between his side and Delhi Daredevils at the Feroze Shah Kotla ground here, the Pune Warriors skipper said it will be a fight for pride. "Delhi, like us, has also has lost some important players to injuries and it will be a fight for not finishing at the bottom," Yuvraj said.