uvraj Singh brought the curtains down on his decorated cricket career on Monday as he announced his retirement from international cricket in a press conference in Mumbai.
The celebrated cricketer and one of the biggest match-winners the country has ever produced, ended a career which spanned 19 years after he made his debut in the ICC KnockOut Trophy in Kenya and impressed in his the very first match he got to bat against Australia, scoring a match-winning 84 against the likes of Glenn McGrath, Brett Lee and Jason Gillespie.
The left-handed cricketer from Punjab never looked back from there as he got the backing of then-captain Sourav Ganguly, who nurtured Yuvraj Singh and helped him develop into one of the most feared cricketers in the world.
Ganguly and the Indian team management had noticed Yuvraj after he was named the Player of the Tournament in the 2000 Under-19 World Cup in which he scored 203 runs and picked up 12 wickets as Mohammad Kaif’s team lifted the trophy after beating Sri Lanka in the final.
There was a time when whatever Yuvraj Singh touched turned into gold as during his prime, he earned the reputation of being a big-match player and he showcased that from time and again for the country, helping India win the inaugural World T20 in 2007 and then the 50-over World Cup in 2011 in India.
He was adjudged the Player of the Tournament in both as he amassed 148 runs at 29.60 including the famous six sixes in an over that he hit against England’s Stuart Broad in the quarter-final of the tournament.
His exploits in the T20 World Cup in South Africa could only be trumped by what he did four years later in the 50-over ICC World Cup in India in 2011.
Yuvraj Singh was struggling for form and fitness before the tournament began but once it got underway, world cricket stood up and took notice of the legend of the man.
Yuvraj scored 362 runs in the tournament at an average of 90.50 with one hundred and four half-centuries and along the way he also picked 15 wickets at 25.13 including a five-wicket haul.
He finished as the 8th highest run-scorer and the fourth-highest wicket taker in the tournament as India lifted the 50-over World Cup after 28 years at the Wankhede stadium in Mumbai on April 2, 2011.
But just days later his world came crashing down as he found out that he had a rare form of cancer in his lungs. He flew to the United States soon after to get his cancer treated and thus, began the toughest battle of his life.
The all-rounder had to go through a lot as he underwent intense chemotherapy sessions in the United States.
However, showcasing the same fighting skills he had displayed on the field, Yuvraj fought against the disease and successfully staged a recovery.
In 2012, he was back to playing for India, inspiring millions with his never-say-die attitude. Yuvraj may not have been able to replicate his vintage self, since 2011 but he has shown grit and determination to keep playing the sport he loves and entertain his fans.
Yuvraj hasn’t played for the senior national team since June 30 and has not been in the selectors’ radar in the recent past. However, he still receives a tremendous reception whenever he walks out to bat in domestic games. Every time he slog-sweeps a spinner over the ropes, the cricketing world is at its feet.
Yuvraj recently revealed that he is eager for one final shot at the 2019 World Cup, but that shot never came as lack of form meant he fell out of the selectors’ radar.
The all-rounder’s performances in the domestic circuit were also far from impressive while in the Indian Premier League this year he got to play in just four matches for his new franchise Mumbai Indians before being dropped from the playing XI.
The 37-year-old last represented India in June 2017 and bows out with 8701 runs from 304 ODIs at 36.55 with 14 hundreds and 52 fifties. He played 40 Tests in which he scored 1900 runs at 33.92 with three centuries while in 58 T20Is he amassed 1177 runs at 28.02 with 8 half-centuries.