Dear Yuvraj Singh,
One U-19 World Cup.
One T20 World Cup.
One 50-over World Cup.
Thank you Yuvraj Singh, there will never be another like you. Happiness outside the cricket field.
it’s a little strange, but I have a montage of shots running in my head at the moment. The first of these is from back in 2004 - you hit a glorious six down the ground - score a 139 in Sydney against the then great Australia. The little kid in the tiny household that I am then, has tears in his eyes - It’s sweet revenge of the 2003 World Cup final.
Next, we travel back to 2002 - Lord’s - NatWest series final - there’s Kaif, having recovered from a diving single, calling for the final run; there’s Ganguly, shirtless; there’s my father, with me in his arms, jumping for we’ve witnessed history, and there’s you - your dejected self walking back to the pavilion, earlier, having scored a 63-ball 69.
Then we jump into 2007 - I’m wearing my teenage rebellion on my sleeve, it’s well past midnight, mom’s given up on me, but India is playing the first ever T20 World Cup, and Ravi Shastri’s just voiced your 6-ball 6-sixes against Stuart Broad.
And, 2011? The quarter-final against Australia, where you hit a boundary through the covers and go down on your knees, roaring like a lion?
Or the time soon after, where I’m from the many who are absolutely distraught with the news of you going down with cancer is making the rounds?
But, we have your 2012-13 comeback story as a response to that.
The final shot of this montage is from 2017 - your 150 in Cuttack against England, where you and MS went absolutely berserk!
It’s a bittersweet feeling, really, to see you retire from international cricket because with you, it’s more-or-less a farewell to the team that Ganguly built, the team that really announced India’s arrival in the world of cricket, the team that garnered a religious following from the youngsters of my generation, and to a box full of memories from my childhood.
There’s no prettier sight than watching you bat in full flow, be it a backfoot punch, or a heave over mid-wicket - you, champ, have been a true superstar of the game! Thank you for teaching an entire generation what old-school swagger looks like, and thank you for your service to the game of cricket.