New Delhi: Before India's big win over Pakistan at the ICC World Twenty20 on Sunday, some former Indian players questioned Yuvraj Singh's fitness and suggested he should be dropped for India's must-win Super Eight tie against the archrivals But Dhoni says he never doubted Yuvraj's place in the XI.
Yuvraj first played the role of India's fifth bowler to perfection, taking took 2 for 16 in his three overs and then supported Virat Kohli with an unbeaten 19 to keep India alive in the tournament and allay fears about his fitness.
But Dhoni told Cricinfo that he never had any fitness concerns with Yuvraj.
Dhoni said despite reports, he never considered dropping the left-hander for the high-octane tie against Pakistan on Sunday.
"When it comes to fitness, as far as this format is concerned, he looks very fit for this format," Dhoni said. "I think he has done a lot [of work] in the last few months. Before this, he has spent a lot of time at the National Cricket Academy and after that he played a bit of active domestic cricket. He looks good. I am not really concerned about his fitness."
The Indian skipper, who faced a selection dilemma ahead of the match against Pakistan, said Yuvraj was among his first-choice players in the XI because of his all-round skills.
"Yuvi was already in the team, the fact whether Yuvi should play or not was not even considered," Dhoni said. "Especially when we play with seven batsmen, the role of the part-timers is very important. Virat [Kohli] is one option but a left-arm away-going option is good to have. Here Yuvi's role is important. We all know that he is a good fielder as well. Today he effected a good run-out as well. If we are playing with four specialist bowlers, then it is difficult to leave out Yuvraj."
Dhoni also praised the left-hander's contribution with the bat.
"His batting today will give him a lot of confidence, because even if you play in the domestic circuit, you don't get bowlers who bowl at the international level. He will take a lot of positives from all these matches."
India play their last Super Eight match against South Africa on Tuesday, with the winner progressing to the semi-finals.