One of India’s best-known cricketers in limited-overs cricket, Yuvraj Singh, announced his retirement from international cricket on Monday at a press conference in Mumbai. The left-arm cricketer – a dashing batsman as well as an effective orthodox spinner – made his debut for India in 2000 against Kenya and played his last game for the country against West Indies in 2017.
Early days- Yuvraj Singh turning things into Gold
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 has 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.
The Memorable World Cup 2011
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.
Hard days and coming out as a fighter
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.
Here are the three top moments of Yuvraj Singh’s illustrious career:
NatWest Trophy 2002 Final
Yuvi's moment in the sun arrived in the final of the NatWest Trophy at the home of cricket, Lord's. After England had mounted a sizeable 325 for 5, India was in a spot of bother at 146 for 5. With the Asian nation in dire need of a partnership of substance, Yuvraj and Mohammad Kaif stitched a 121-run stand to engineer India's come-from-behind victory.
The highlight of his 69-run innings was perhaps the sublime drive off Andrew Flintoff that tailored the gap through covers and thudded into the fence. He also savagely slog-swept Ashley Giles to take India past the 200-run mark. Eventually, India posted a thrilling two-wicket victory, with both Yuvraj and Kaif playing pivotal roles.
The Six Sixes Over that changed the dynamics of T20 Cricket
Yuvraj rose to dizzying heights in the inaugural World T20 in 2007 by launching the England mainstay Broad for six sixes in the furnace of Durban. In the 18th over of the innings, he had an altercation with the England all-rounder Andrew Flintoff. The middle-order batsman took his ire on Broad in the next over to send shock waves through the England camp. The first of the sixes was tonked over midwicket. The second was flicked with panache behind square. The third one was easily lifted over extra cover. The fourth was carved via point.
Paul Collingwood, the then England skipper, tried to calm down the nerves of Broad but that couldn't help matters. Unfortunately for England, Yuvraj crunched two more shots over the stands, including one through midwicket. Broad could only watch all those sixes sail into the stands with his fingers on his lips in sheer bewilderment. Yuvraj and his batting partner, MS Dhoni, celebrated the mark with high fives as the southpaw soaked in a round of applause from the delirious crowd.
Crucial Quarter-Final encounter against Australia
Yuvraj took his game to elevated levels in the 2011 World Cup, ending up with 362 runs and 15 scalps during the course of the tournament. In the crucial quarterfinal game versus Australia in Ahmedabad, he gave a glimpse of his utility to the side with two scalps and a half-century under pressure.
When he made room and flayed Brett Lee through covers to script India's famous win, an elated Yuvraj let out a roar and swung his bat wildly in celebration. He also got a warm hug from his partner-in-crime at the other end, Suresh Raina.
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 hundred 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.