I started following cricket with the 1983 World Cup. Because of his exploits with the bat and the ball, Mohinder Amarnath became my favourite cricketer. Once he retired in the late eighties, I did not admire any cricketer that much, not even the great Sachin Tendulkar.
But that changed in 2007. I was in the evening shift and the newsroom television was tuned in to the India-England match in the T20 World Cup. Southpaw Yuvraj Singh’s pyrotechnics was on display as he hit Stuart Broad to all parts of the Kingsmead in Durban.
Since his international debut in 2000, I had followed his progress but didn’t think much of it. But then, hitting a quality fast bowler for six sixes in an over was something out of the ordinary. I immediately signed into the Yuvraj fan club. From then on, his success would make me happy. I would love the commentators saying that few other batsmen in international cricket hit the ball so cleanly.
In 2011 the World Cup returned to India and Yuvraj was in his element, both with the bat and the ball. By then, I had moved on to another newspaper and we would keep a track of our team’s progress. Most of my journalist colleagues knew my love for the Punjab cricketer and would congratulate me whenever he did well. For his exceptional showing in the tournament Yuvraj was declared the Man of the Tournament and my colleagues declared me the ‘Fan of the Tournament’.
Yuvraj was successful in the shorter version of the game but was in and out of the Test team as there were limited opportunities with the team packed with stalwarts. That he is a true fighter came to the fore when he battled cancer just after the World Cup and emerged a winner.
In an international career spanning 17 years he tasted ample success. He is perhaps the only Indian cricketer to have the coveted World Cup, T20 World Cup, Under-19 World Cup and the IPL trophies in his cabinet.
It pained me to see him struggle in the twilight of his career. The 2018 IPL didn’t go well for him. This year, too, he did not cash in on the limited opportunities the Mumbai Indians gave him. The writing was on the wall. It was just a matter of time before he decided to bid adieu to his international career.
And when an emotional Yuvraj called it a day at a press conference in Mumbai, I had mixed feelings. I was happy that he no more had to face the prospect of a failure with an advancing age. He had nothing more to prove to anyone.
Thank you, Yuvi, for all the entertainment. I was a touch sad, too, as we will miss the by-now-so-familiar swagger and the lazy elegance.
Source Link: https://www.tribuneindia.com