Yuvraj Singh's surprise selection in the Twenty20 World Cup squad might have raised doubts about his fitness but the all-rounder on Wednesday sought to put the record straight by announcing that he is physically and mentally strong enough to make a comeback into the international arena.
"Experts are not watching me. They don't know about my fitness. It's me who knows what's going on. It's me who is feeling it from inside. I know myself better and I am confident enough to do well in the World Cup in Sri Lanka," said Yuvraj on the sidelines of National Sports Awards function at the Rashtrapati Bhawan.
The star cricketer, who is preparing to stage a comeback after recovering from a rare germ cell cancer, received the Arjuna Award from President Pranab Mukherjee amidst a rousing reception with hordes of cameramen capturing his moment of glory.
Many former cricketers, including Sourav Ganguly, had raised fears about Yuvraj's fitness in the wake of his selection in the squad for the upcoming T20 World Cup to be played in Sri Lanka from September 18 to October 12 and termed the decision as "emotional".
"I am practicing hard at the National Cricket Academy in Bangalore. The experts over there are watching my fitness level. I know what I am doing and I just want to concentrate on my return and playing cricket.
"If you look at the last three months, I am really training hard and peaking well. I am looking forward to play my first game after a year.
"I had played three practice games at NCA. I will get some serious match practice in the two matches against New Zealand scheduled September 8 and 11. Then, I would be playing two more practice matches. So, you see, I will be having seven games before the World Cup. I will be having enough match practice," said Yuvraj.
The 30-year-old, a veteran of 274 ODIs (8051 runs) and 118 T20s (2726 runs), said that Arjuna Award will give him the confidence to make a comeback and perform well.
"It's a special award for me. I had been nominated few times but finally I got it this time. It's a proud moment for me and my family. The award will give me a lot of confidence to make a comeback and perform well," said Yuvraj, who was the Player of the Tournament during India's 2011 World Cup triumph.
The left-hander underwent treatment in the United States in January this year, involving three sessions of chemotherapy, and returned to India in April, after successfully battling cancer.