Retired legend Sachin Tendulkar has come in Yuvraj Singh's defence after the left-handed batsman came in for severe criticism for scoring 11 off 21 balls in the all-important ICC World twenty20 final against Sri Lanka in Mirpur Dhaka on Sunday. After scoring just 130 for four wickets, India lost by six wickets to hand the Lankans their maiden World Twenty 20 title.
"Last evening, Yuvi had a tough day and he can be criticised. But he should not be crucified nor should he be written off," Tendulkar said on Monday. In a post-match press conference, Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni had fended off questions on Yuvraj's future saying the time was not appropriate.
"It is the unpredictable nature of the game that makes cricket such an exciting sport. As cricketers, we always enjoy the applause when we succeed but it is the support and encouragement from fans during tough times, that we appreciate the most," Tendulkar wrote on his Facebook page.
"All of us took pride in the heroics of Yuvi when we won the T20 World Cup in 2007 and his outstanding contribution in the ODI World Cup win in 2011 will always be cherished," said Tendulkar, who retired from all forms of cricket in November last year. Yuvraj, who was man of the tournament in the 2011 World Cup, had dedicated the 'awesome' win to Tendulkar.
"I have been an admirer of Yuvi's indomitable spirit which has overcome many challenges, both on and off the field. Knowing Yuvi's determination and ability to fight adversities, he will emerge stronger, proving his critics wrong, yet again," said Tendulkar.
Dhoni too has defended Yuvraj for failing to produce the momentum needed in the middle overs.
"Nobody wants to really play bad cricket. In front of 40,000 people you don't really want to drop a catch or misfield. It's part and parcel of the game. And we have seen it happen to some of the international athletes, not just cricketers. Let's get rid of it. Yuvi tried his best, it was an off day for him, at the same time it is not easy for a batsman to go out there and start slogging," said Dhoni.
Yuvraj's best friend in the Punjab team, Harbhajan Singh, too has defended the maverick all-rounder. Yuvraj's father, former pacer Yograj Singh, said it was unfair to blame his son for the defeat. Fans have reportedly pelted stones at Yuvraj's Chandigarh house.
Tendulkar, of course, has been the most inspiring. In an emotional message, the Little Master said: "Yuvi, one off day cannot undermine your tremendous contribution in many sweet memories over the years. You may be down today but you are far from being out.
"I want you to know that there are many like me in India and across the world, who keenly look forward to you being a part of the campaign to defend the ODI World Cup title in 2015."