Op-Ed: Farewell Yuvraj!

By Ashutosh Mishra

Bhubaneswar: Certain images linger. Like the image of a young Yuvraj Singh clobbering six sixes off a hapless Stuart Broad at Kingsmead, Durban in the first edition of ICC World T20 in 2007.

The innings is now part of cricket folklore. Yuvraj, who was at the crease with MS Dhoni, had hit England pacer, Andrew Flintoff for two blistering fours in the 18th over of the Indian innings. Like any fast bowler being taken to the cleaners Flintoff did not like it one bit and got involved an altercation with Yuvraj.

Though the umpires stepped in to avoid a clash the incident fired up Yuvraj and Broad bore the brunt of his onslaught in the next over. Each hit that cleared the ropes, the last one being a massive heave over wide long-on, was lustily cheered by fans who witnessed the incredible feat. It was aggression in its most brutal form.

Yuvraj, who has decided to call time on his roller coaster career that saw Indian cricket touching dizzying heights, has always been a champion. Be it a cricket field or a hospital ward he never accepted defeat. The man who valiantly fought and defeated cancer always gave his best to the game notwithstanding the ups and downs that are part of any cricketer’s life.

For his millions of fans, of course, it was painful to see him unable to make a comeback to the Indian team and then struggle to score even in the IPL. Yuvraj, too, had made up his mind to hang his cricketing boots about a year ago but was perhaps looking for the right time to announce his retirement.

His timing, in my opinion, has been perfect with India’s current World Cup campaign taking off brilliantly with two glorious victories against South Africa and Australia, both reckoned among the top teams of the world.

The announcement is bound to bring back memories of 2011 World Cup which India had lifted largely courtesy Yuvraj who contributed both with the bat and the ball. The southpaw, who amassed 362 runs in the tournament at an average of 90.50 with one century and four fifties, was named the player of the tournament.

But soon after the World Cup came the biggest turning point in his life when he was diagnosed with cancer and had to undergo a two-and-a-half month long treatment in America. The champion that he was he returned to competitive cricket and was named in India’s squad for the World T20 in Sri Lanka in 2012. But life was never the same for Yuvraj Singh after that. The world had already seen his best.

Though the all-rounder has reportedly kept the option of pursuing a freelance career in foreign T20 leagues open we are definitely going to miss him. At his farewell Press conference he rightly summed up his career in these words: “ It has been a roller coaster ride and a great story but it has to come to an end.” Sadly all good things must come to an end.

(DISCLAIMER: This is an opinion piece. The views expressed are author’s own and have nothing to do with OTV’s charter or views. OTV does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.)