Yuvraj Singh, once a poster boy of Indian cricket, on Monday brought the curtain down on his international career, spanning close to 19 years and over 400 matches. Yuvraj Singh made a name for himself from the year 2000, when he made his One-day International debut, till his last international match in June, 2017, after which he was side-lined. Yuvraj also was a role model as he fought off cancer to come back into international cricket, was also a star of the Indian Premier League, representing several franchises and scoring heavily during his heydays.
"After 25 years, I have decided to move on. Cricket has given me everything and is the reason why I stand here today," the 37-year-old Yuvraj said addressing the media here.
"I was extremely lucky to play 400 games for India. I could have never imagined it when I first started playing cricket," he added.
Yuvraj Singh came into the India One-day International (ODI) fold in October 2000 in the ICC knockout tournament in Nairobi. He made his Test debut at his home turf of Mohali against New Zealand in October 2003 and then he went on to become a part of the Indian T20 International squad in the ICC World T20 in 2007, against Scotland at Durban in September 2007.
Yuvraj played 40 Tests, scoring 1900 runs with an average of 33.92 (3 hundreds and 11 50s). His highest Test score of 169 came against Pakistan in 2007 at Bengaluru.
"It was a love-hate relationship with this game. I can't explain what it really means to me. This game taught me to fight. I have failed more times than I succeeded and I will never give up," he said.
A massive 304 ODIs was where Yuvi really delivered, scoring 8701 runs at an average of 36.55 with 14 centuries and 42 fifties. His highest score was 150 against England at Cuttack in 2017.
One of the lasting images of Indian cricket was Yuvraj Singh hitting Stuart Broad for six sixes in an over in the T20 World Cup in 2007 at Kingsmead, Durban. He was a T20I superstar as well, playing 58 such matches to score 1177 runs with a superb strike rate of 136.38, with a top score of 77not out versus Australia at Rajkot in 2013.
Yuvraj's utility as a left-arm spinner, for which he was derisively called a 'pie-chucker' by England star Kevin Pietersen, was not to be underestimated. With 111 ODI wickets and a best of 5/31, Yuvi could well hold his own. He also chipped in with 28 T20I and nine Test wickets.
(With PTI inputs)