He has a fantastic sense of occasion. Few know how to make the most of an opportunity. It is another matter that Yuvraj Singh believes in creating these platforms and rewriting his cricketing legacy. True, he can get out to an innocuous delivery. Who doesn’t? But he also has the capacity and the skill to put away, with utter nonchalance, the most lethal missiles that bowlers hurl at him. Yuvraj is one of his kind!
Often his youthful impulse is misconstrued as indiscretion. “I have never misbehaved with any senior. I have played cricket with dignity,” he submits.
One can’t remember Yuvraj being summoned by the Match Referee at any point of his career. The intense scrutiny that he is often subjected to does leave him an irritated individual, but the desire to plough on makes Yuvraj a fierce competitor. He is a mature professional on the international circuit with match-winning deeds that confirm his awesome potential.
Yuvraj will be the key factor at the ICC Twenty20 World Cup. He knows it well. So do the opponents. Durban 2007 is vivid as his calculated assault left England fast bowler Stuart Broad embarrassed. The young Englishman went for six sixes in an over. Barely 12 days prior to the Durban feat, Yuvraj, bowling the last over of the innings, had conceded five sixes off his final deliveries to England’s Dimitri Mascarenhas in an ODI at Oval. “That’s cricket! But Durban is a fond memory,” smiles Yuvraj.
Hours of practice under the scorching sun in Chandigarh, those early lessons at Bishan Singh Bedi’s camps, and his formative years in international cricket taught Yuvraj the significance of consistency; it also prepared him to do well on big occasions.
The match-winning 69 against England in the 2002 NatWest final gave early indication of his abilities and he has grown in stature and reputation, playing some rousing cricket that reached its pinnacle at the 2011 World Cup.
The World Cup triumph has been documented richly and is close to Yuvraj’s heart. He battled illness and weakness, sleepless and breathless nights; and painful loneliness.
“My world seemed to be crumbling rapidly. I was clueless but I knew something was severely wrong. My mother (Shabnam Singh) and God ensured I remained focused. To discover that I had cancer was frightening, indeed.”
Yuvraj, as you would expect him to, fought back to wear the India colours again.
As he told The Hindu during his recuperation phase, “I learnt that cricket is not everything. The fame and adulation that comes is not permanent. But the affection of your friends and family stays with you life-long. There is nothing like happiness. For me happiness was always playing cricket.”
Mellow and realistic
His flamboyance at the crease gives the general impression that Yuvraj is carefree, sometimes restless. On the contrary, Yuvraj, 30, is much mellowed and realistic in his approach, adopting a spiritual stance. “I owe it to my gurus (Sant Baba Ajit Singhji and Sant Baba Ram Singhji) and my mom.”
Watch out for the rejuvenated Yuvraj in his fourth ICC Twenty20 World Cup. His sense of occasion is eminently enviable!