The first thing that comes to the mind surrounding Yuvraj Singh is his courage and valiant outlook. The former Indian cricketer provided fans with defining match winning moments. He had a career with stupendous highs and there were major brutal blows along the way. Yuvi announced his decision to retire from the game on Monday. After two decades of service to cricket, the Punjab southpaw finally is all set to look forward to a new direction in life.
Yuvraj gave us many fond memories over the years and that in itself will be forever remembered. Winner of the 2007 World T20 and the ICC World Cup 2011, Yuvraj made his presence felt in these marquee events. He was a winner in every sense and played a major role in shaping India’s success over the years. The veteran star made his India debut in 2000 against Kenya in the ICC Champions Trophy. The young kid made a lasting impression with his pure athleticism and energy.
From a younger age he was stupendous on the field and led by example alongside Mohammad Kaif. India weren’t a nation to be known for their fielding, but Yuvraj brought that culture in Sourav Ganguly’s side. He was a sharp catcher and a powerful young athlete that bossed that off-side region.
He battled with a lung cancer in 2012 and that almost threatened his career. But the champion fighter overcame the toughest period to stand tall. He got selected in the side in 2013 and battled with poor form. The big-hitter got his next chance in 2017 and played that wonderful innings against England in Cuttack. Post that, Yuvraj was left out and never made a return. But Yuvi kept playing in domestic cricket and the IPL.
Off the field, Yuvi is dedicated towards charity and that’s a big achievement. Once a warrior, always a warrior is the tag that suits this champion. Here we look at the best moments of Yuvraj’s career.
The start as a youngster in Champions Trophy
In the ICC Champions Trophy in 2000, Yuri made his debut against Kenya. But in that match, he didn’t get to bat. Up next was a key battle against world champions Australia in the quarter-finals. Sourav Ganguly and Sachin Tendulkar India off to a flying start, but the side lost quick wickets and were pegged back at 90/3.
Many hearts were pounding and there was a sense of curiosity when a young Yuvi came into bat. It was a game of pressure and India needed solidity. The left-handed Yuvi took the attack to the opposition and looked in control against a top quality attack. The 18-year old scored his 50 off just 46 balls.
He continued to play well (84) and helped India post a match-winning total of 265 on board. The fans had witnessed a special player on board. Something electric and magnificent was set to follow next.
2002 Natwest Trophy: Yuvi steals English thunder
Yuvi’s best moment was in the 2002 Natwest Trophy against England. The Indian team made an improbable chase of 325 come alive. Thanks to Yuvi, who scored a match-winning fifty alongside Mohammad Kaif. In the chase, Dada provided the fireworks, before Indian lost control and when Tendulkar was dismissed, the score read 146/5.
Two youngsters in Yuvi and Kaif walked in and produced one of the historic chases in ODI cricket. It was all up to Yuvraj, who started with the acceleration. He made sure that India stayed in touch with the asking rate. He played well against both pace and spin. His 69 off 63 balls gave the side a platform.
Eventually, Kaif (87*) was there till the end and made sure India got past the target with three balls to spare. This win saw Ganguly take off his shirt at Lord’s as India were instilled with a certain sense of new belief and character. It was one of the best ODI trophy won by the side in the history of Indian cricket.
How can one forget the 6 sixes off Broad!
In 2007, it was Yuvi’s six sixes against Stuart Broad that will forever be inscribed in the memories of fans for generations to come. In the ICC World T20 match, Yuvraj decimated the English and produced a magical display in Durban. The team under a fresh leader in MS Dhoni, took on England in their second super-8 game.
Batting first, the openers gave the side a much needed foundation. When Yuvi came in, India accelerated in no time. He smashed a 12-ball 50 which still stands as the fastest fifty in all formats of the game.
It was an altercation with Andrew Flintoff that set off Yuvraj. The anger in him was vented upon fast bowler Stuart Broad in the penultimate over. Yuvraj was unstoppable as he scored maximums over long-on, long-off, square-leg, and deep point. Those six sixes became a phenomenon. India went on to win that game and eventually the Cup.
Yuvraj delivers in the biggest cricket carnival
The 2011 World Cup was a special one for millions of fans. This was the second World Cup win for India and most importantly, it came after a gap of 28 years. Considered to be the biggest cricket carnival, Wankhede was bouncing in the final when MS Dhoni smashed the winning runs by hitting a six against Sri Lanka.
India had some star performers during the campaign. And all the biggies including Tendulkar, Zaheer Khan and Gautam Gambhir played substantial roles. But the trophy was mainly won because of one man – Yuvraj. This was the event that belonged to him. His consistency was on a different level.
Yuvi was the mega star of the tournament with his all-round skills. His 362 runs and 15 wickets helped him earn the man-of-the series award. The 113-run knock against the West Indies under hot and humid conditions in Chennai and the much composed 57* against Australia in the quarters were champion innings.
Yuvi deserves every bit of the happiness and a great innings ahead in life. We wish you all the best Yuvraj Singh!