Yuvraj Singh announced his retirement from all forms of cricket and it brought an end to his brilliant 17-year international career. During his career, Yuvraj has been part of so many memorable moments that Indian cricket fans would have lost count. Apart from his exploits on the grand stage, Yuvraj was excellent with the bat, ball and on the field. The left-hander also overcame some tough moments in his life, notably his fight against cancer during the 2011 World Cup. However, he bounced back and he has sealed his legacy as India’s ultimate match-winner. Here are some of the most memorable moments from Yuvraj during his playing career.
2000 – A champion display in the Champions Trophy
At the start of the new millennium, India needed a spark of aggression and brilliance on the global stage. In stepped Yuvraj and he showed his flamboyance and brilliance. His 84 against Australia and 41 against South Africa was simply brilliant for his audacious strokeplay. The straight drive, the pull shot and the flick that came out of his willow was a sight for sore eyes. Although India lost in the final to New Zealand, India had found a new star.
2002 – Those two catches against South Africa and Natwest glory
The Champions Trophy continued reward Yuvraj. A fine batting display in the semi-final against South Africa in Colombo was followed up with a brilliant fielding exhibition. He first set back Graeme Smith with a brilliant, leaping effort at point off Zaheer Khan. With South Africa boosted by Herschelle Gibbs century and Jacques Kallis’ fifty, India needed a miracle. Gibbs retired hurt and India built the pressure. Yuvraj played a massive part in it. Mark Boucher swept Harbhajan Singh but got a top edge to short fine leg, Yuvraj made a brilliant dive to his right and took the catch. Momentum swung India’s way and they reached the final in dramatic circumstances.
In the same year, there was more glory for India, this time in England. In the final of the Natwest Trophy, chasing 326, India were reeling at 146/5 but Yuvraj shared a brilliant 121-run stand with Mohammad Kaif. Yuvraj’s 69 and Kaif’s 87 helped India break their finals jinx as they achieved the highest run-chase in ODI at that time. The belief to do well on the world stage was given by Yuvraj and his brilliance.
2008 to 2011: All-rounder par excellence
In 2008, India totally dominated England at home in ODIs and it was thanks to Yuvraj. He took 10 wickets and scored two centuries in the first two games. From 2008 till 2011, Yuvraj was the premier all-rounder in the world. Yuvraj took 55 wickets and scored over 2400 runs at an average of close to 40. It was his brilliant display that gave India plenty of success at home and in overseas condition, leading to glory in the World Cup.
Glory in 2007 and 2011
The Indian cricket team was going through tough times. They had crashed out of the 2007 World Cup and heading into the new World T20 in South Africa, there was not much hope. However, Yuvraj had other ideas. The world took notice of Yuvraj’s brilliant hitting when he became the third player to hit six sixes in an over. That carnage in Durban off Stuart Broad, followed by the exploits against Australia in the semi-final, helped India achieve their first major ICC trophy after 24 years.
In 2011, Yuvraj fought his inner demons in cancer but continued his brilliant all-round display as India eyed World Cup glory at home. He was the Man of the Series and was at the other end when MS Dhoni hit the winning runs in the final against Sri Lanka as India secured the 2011 World Cup title and became the first team to win at home.
Those Six Sixes and overcoming cancer
First six over midwicket, second over deep square leg, third six to deep point, fourth six to wide long off, fifth six to deep midwicket and the sixth to wide long on. The carnage that he inflicted on Stuart Broad was the stuff of legends. This was the highest point in Yuvraj’s career as he smashed the fastest fifty in Twenty20 cricket off just 12 balls. The record still stays.
Four years later, after World Cup 2011 glory and scaling the Everest in his career, Yuvraj’s life came crashing down to earth when he was diagnosed with cancer. However, the left-hander fought back brilliantly and emerged stronger as he made a comeback to the Indian team.