Mumbai, July 7: After completing a dramatic return to one-day cricket with a forceful all-rounder display in the World Cup 2011, Yuvraj Singh is lusting the prospect of fomenting a spot in the Indian Test side when the team tours England later this month.
"Test cricket is one area I would like to improve and do well," Yuvraj told the Indian Express. "I want to be a permanent member of the Test side and I know that won't be easy. I will do whatever I can do to strengthen my Test records. The England tour will be one of the biggest challenges in my career."
The southpaw hasn't featured in Tests since his middle order slot was taken over by Suresh Raina on India's tour of Sri Lanka last year. He subsequently missed out on the home series against Australia and New Zealand and the tour of South Africa.
It was expected that Yuvraj would be picked in the Test squad for the tour of West Indies in the absence of some of first-choice players. But a lung infection that he picked up at the fag-end of the Indian Premier League (IPL) kept him out of the tour. However now, he claims to be fully fit again and raring to go.
"During the World Cup I was coughing a little. I thought it was due to stress but by the end of IPL 4, it worsened. When I got a medical test done, doctors found that I was suffering from upper respiratory infection with a small patch of pneumonitis in the left lung. I was advised three weeks of rest and medication."
Yuvraj rues not being able to make the Test XI for the tour of West Indies as he feels it would have provided him the perfect milieu to transition into the game's longer version.
"The Caribbean tour would have provided me with an ideal opportunity to re-claim my place in the Test team. But few things are beyond your control and my lung infection was one of them."
England who are coming off a successful Ashes series in Australia and a 1-0 rout of Sri Lanka in a home series will be hard to beat in their own back yard. But Yuvraj is confident of meeting the challenge head on, especially since he averages 46 in England as against his overall Test average of 35.63. However, he doesn't feel previously garnered numbers amount to much when one is starting on a virtual clean slate.
"I don't think past records help you much when you are facing the first ball of an innings. Your score is zero and you have to start from scratch. But England have been one of my favourite opponents, I like playing against them. Keeping fingers crossed."
Yuvraj says he is ready to counter the swing that will be on offer on England's tracks and pointed out that the heroes that go before him are well accustomed to such.
"I was part of the team that won the Test series under Rahul Dravid, and the legends in the team -- Rahul, Sachin, Laxman -- are always around to help. The swinging conditions are bound to be quite difficult and challenging but at the same time we are aware of those conditions."
Yuvraj has some glitches in his batting technique which he has been working on. One such is the inordinate height of his back-lift which has landed him at the wrong end of several lbw decisions.
He is also looking forward to picking up his rivalry with Kevin Pietersen who had termed him "pie-chucker" for his knack of getting the English batsman out with his nifty little slow left armers.