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Yuvraj Singh celebrates hitting the winning runs during the 2011 ICC World Cup Quarter Final match between Australia and India © Getty Images

Yuvraj Singh hailed Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s decision to step down as limited-overs captain, and said the wicketkeeper-batsman still had a lot to contribute to Indian cricket as a player.

Yuvraj, who was recalled for the limited-over series against England, added that the move would enable him and Dhoni to enthral fans with their fearless brand of cricket.

“I think he (Dhoni) took a good decision in stepping down as captain,” Yuvraj told bcci.tv. “He has a lot to contribute as a player in the team. He must have felt that it would give Kohli enough time to take over and build the team for 2019 World Cup.

“I think he’s been an extremely good captain for India. We’ve won the World Cup (2011) and the Champions Trophy (2013) under him. We were the No. 1 Test team under him. These are amazing achievements and I’m not sure how many captains have that.”

Dhoni and Yuvraj, both 35, have been part off several match-winning partnerships in their storied limited-overs career, but their unbroken 146-run third-wicket stand that took India to an eight-wicket win and completed a 4-1 drubbing of Pakistan in Karachi in 2006 would perhaps be the most memorable. Yuvraj said he hoped to revive that kind of partnership by playing with the same freedom that made them such an irresistible combination.

“It’s tough when you go through a period like this in your life, when you don’t know where your life is going to go. I think you have got to keep working hard and believe that one day you will come back and be at the place you belong. Things can always change in a matter of a short time. I have had a lot of ups and downs and I have just learnt to keep bouncing back from it.”

“It will be like the old days playing with Dhoni when we had started. Obviously, I started much before him, but, back then, we were fearless when we used to play together. We can do the same this time in the upcoming series against England.”

Yuvraj, who is returning to the One-Day International side after three years, hasn’t played an international match since injuring his ankle in the World T20 2016 match against Australia. It will be his fifth comeback to the national side after the 2011 World Cup, this time based on his performances in the 2016-17 Ranji Trophy, where he scored 672 runs in five matches for Punjab at an average of 84. Yuvraj conceded that maintaining his fitness was the biggest challenge at this stage of his career.

“I was inspired by Lance Armstrong when I was going through cancer, and coming out of it, I have inspired a lot of people to come out of their own adversity. Never giving up is my attitude,” he said.

“It’s tough when you go through a period like this in your life, when you don’t know where your life is going to go. I think you have got to keep working hard and believe that one day you will come back and be at the place you belong. Things can always change in a matter of a short time. I have had a lot of ups and downs and I have just learnt to keep bouncing back from it.”

There have been sound cricketing arguments against Yuvraj’s selection due to his long lay-off from international cricket, but he emphasised the importance of putting extra hours into training to keep up with the rising standards of fitness in the team.

“I have been working hard on my fitness. In the mid-30s, your body asks for a lot of training time, recovery time. I have changed my diet completely and I have been putting in extra hours.

“I think mental strength is something you gain after playing for so many years. You want to be mentally strong at the highest level because it can be physically and mentally demanding, and if your are mentally strong, your body will follow.”

Yuvraj added that Kohli, who was handed the reins of India’s limited-overs cricket, will continue to inspire the side with his consistent performances.

“What’s special about Virat is that he commands performance,” said Yuvraj. “He has been very consistent throughout his career, and that fire and consistency has converted him into a very good captain. He demands 100% commitment from the team all the time and that’s the hallmark of a good captain. Every year he gets better with his performances. He, I think, sets his own goals and tries to get better with every performance.”