After speculations over retirement, Yuvraj Singh has finally called it quits to an illustrious international career that spanned over 19 years. Announcing it in a press briefing in Mumbai, the left-hander felt that he was lucky to have played 399 games for India across all formats.
Rated highly by the experts from his U-19 days, Yuvraj revolutionized the art of batting for the Indian team. He along with Virender Sehwag played an attacking brand of cricket which disturbed the rhythm of the bowlers.
The 37-year old will surely be regarded as one of the greatest limited overs players that India has ever produced. It was evident as he played a pivotal role in India's every big white-ball success in this millennium. With tons of memories about him, let's trace back the top five moments of Yuvraj Singh's career in Indian cricket.
#5 Record Partnership with Tendulkar in the emotional Chennai Test in 2008
Although Yuvraj was scoring runs consistently in ODIs, he couldn't cement his place in the Test side due to the presence of the fab four in Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, VVS Laxman, and Sourav Ganguly.
His opportunity came in 2008 when Ganguly called it quits. Playing with a back injury, Yuvraj hit two consecutive centuries in the ODI series against England. But terror attacks in Mumbai resulted in the cancelling of the tour midway. The Englishmen came back after a fortnight for the Test series.
Chennai played hosts to the first match as an emotional Indian team took the field. Dominating the match for the first four days, England gave India an improbable target of chasing 387 in four sessions. Sehwag raced to 83 off just 68 balls which gave the impetus for India to go for the target on the last day.
The game was in the balance when Yuvraj walked into bat at 224-4. On his comeback match, the southpaw mixed caution with aggression as he attacked the spinners. His calm demeanour along with Sachin's class helped India achieve the impossible. Their unbeaten 163-run partnership won the game which brought enormous joy to the entire country.
#4 Impressive 84 in his debut innings Vs Australia in ICC KnockOut Cup
India faced World Champions Australia in the quarterfinals of the ICC KnockOut Cup in 2000. Ganguly and Sachin got the team off to a flying start, but the team lost quick wickets and were reeling at 90-3.
So, when Yuvraj Singh came into bat in Indian colours for the first time, he was under tremendous pressure to deliver. He took the attack to the opposition which surprised the mighty Australians. His bat swing impressed everyone as he made run-scoring look easy against a quality pace attack.
The 18-year old first steadied innings with a 64-run partnership with Robin Singh before bringing up his 50 off just 46 balls. He continued to plunder the attack as his 84 helped India post a match-winning total of 265 on board. That inning proved that India had found a player who could end up as one of the finest white ball players.
#3 NatWest Series Final 2002
Despite showing some excellent results in overseas conditions under the leadership of Ganguly, India's hopes were heavily pinned on Sachin Tendulkar. One gesture reflecting it was the habit of the Indian fans to turn off their television sets once the great man got out.
July 13, 2002, was one such day, as Sachin got out at 146-5 with India chasing 325 to win in the NatWest final against hosts England. Hopes were crashed while India went to sleep in disappointment. But two young boys in Yuvraj Singh and Mohammad Kaif, stood up to stage one of the historic chases on the world stage.
Yuvraj was the aggressor in the partnership as he attacked Ronnie Irani to keep up with the required rate. He also negated the left-arm spin of Ashley Giles who was terrific on the day. His 69 off 63 balls brought back the team within touching distance. Eventually, India scripted one of the most memorable series wins as the legend of Yuvraj started to grow big.
#2 ICC T20 World Cup - Six sixes off Stuart Broad
After showing their displeasure for the format, India arrived in South Africa for the T20 World Cup with little hopes. The team scrapped through the league stage and was facing exit as they lost to New Zealand in the first game of the Super 8s.
India took on England in their second super-8 game. Batting first, the openers laid a brilliant foundation by the time Yuvraj Singh came to the crease. What followed next was big hitting at its classy best as he scored a 12-ball 50 which still stands as the fastest fifty in all forms of the game.
A small altercation with Andrew Flintoff instigated Yuvraj who attacked Stuart Broad belligerently in the penultimate over. He was unstoppable as he scored maximums over long-on, long-off, square-leg, and deep point. Those six sixes surged India to the knockouts and then to the T20 title.
#1 2011 World Cup - Man of the tournament
His biggest moment in Indian colours came in 2011, as he put his heart and soul to grab the World Cup. Despite showing up symptoms for one of the cruellest diseases, the fighter in him was reluctant to leave the field until the target was achieved.
Both his discomfort and never give up attitude was visible in his knock of 113 against the West Indies under hot and humid conditions in Chennai. His best knock came in the crucial quarterfinal game against the Australians as he took his team to victory with a composed 57*.
Not to forget his slow left-arm spin, which fetched 15 wickets for India in the tournament more than that of Harbhajan Singh. His bowling form started against Ireland, where he picked up India's only five-wicket haul of the tournament. His World Cup dream culminated when MS Dhoni hit a six off Nuwan Kulasekara, as an emotional Yuvraj achieved his biggest dream.