The first thing that strikes us when we hear the name Yuvraj Singh is we should not ever give up. No matter what the circumstances are, no matter how difficult a situation, you never throw in the towel – and the talisman batsman epitomised this never-give-up attitude.
There have been many inspirational sports stories where players have risen from the ashes to climb the zenith of the mountain. Then, there are stories of players who stood against all odds and emerged winners. Yuvraj Singh belongs to the top shelf of such sedulous players.
There are no words like ‘giving up’ in Yuvraj’s dictionary, whether it was taking his dad’s stern orders or battling cancer or taking a blow to his head from the best bowlers in the world. He came out as a winner every time he was put on the backfoot.
‘Yuvraj Will Be Remembered for His Passion’
Former Australian star batsman Michael Hussey beautifully sums up the thought that a player is not remembered for the number of runs or wickets or catches he takes in his career. However, he lives close to our heart for the way he played the game and what memories he gave us to cherish. So, Yuvraj Singh will not be recalled for 11,778 International runs and 148 wickets in 402 matches.
However, he would be remembered for the passion with which he took the field, for the way he took the bull by its horns, for his flamboyant backlift, for six sixes against Stuart Broad, for the memorable Natwest final, for his flick, for a gargantuan six over deep square-leg against Brett Lee in 2007 T20I World Cup semifinal, for winning us the 2011 World Cup despite putting his life at risk.
Furthermore, he stood against cancer and told it while looking straight in the eye, ‘I can take you down’ and eventually he was the last man standing after the final bout.
It is never easy for a player to take all that in when he’s at the culmination point of his career and when the whole cricket world was at his feet. He was awarded the Player of the Tournament in 2011 World Cup for scoring 362 runs and snaring 16 wickets.
However, the next few years were not only going to be different but also very difficult for the celebrated cricketer. He soon had to drive his boat in the thundering conditions and he came out as a perfect helmsman.
The chemo sessions can be a torture to anyone, but he knew he had to go through it like a difficult spell of bowling. It was like he was promoted as an opener in swinging English conditions and all he could do was duck in and leave the balls outside the off-stump channel. But, as it is rightly said that 'Hard times don't last long, but hard people do'. Yuvraj Singh was back at his feet, and once the clouds cleared off, he was back to playing his trademark shots.
And he himself sums it beautifully when he said in his retirement speech,
“This game taught me how to fight, how to fall, to dust off, to get up again and move forward. It has been a lovely journey. See you on the other side.”
How to fight, how to fall, to dust off, to get up again and move forward – isn't there a big life lesson in it for each one of us?
The 37-year-old all-rounder made an astounding comeback into the national side once again and began his second innings of the game in style. The southpaw was already a winner and when he made a return to the topmost level, he told the world what a champion he was. Not that he had proved it to the world what he was made of but expressed himself that he can play at the same level which he had already mastered.
However, as expected, a different Yuvraj had taken the field. There were unfamiliar fumbles in the field, and the runs started to dry up for him. Even though he kept trying but it was palpable that there was not much fuel left in the tank.
It shattered one and all to see when he meandered to 11 runs off 21 balls against Sri Lanka in the final of the 2014 World Cup. He was struggling to get bat to ball, and the whole world had come crashing down on him. It must have been like a horrible dream for him as he was the one who had helped India to lift their second World Cup trophy after 28 long years. But life, as well as sports, can be hard at times; you can be at the top of the sky one day and down back to ground on the other.
Consequently, Yuvraj is a role model for the future generation that giving up is not an option.
It should never be ‘I cannot’ but ‘I can’. He stood tall against all the challenges and showed everyone that he was a warrior who didn’t give up when the going got tough. He showed us that if there is a will, there is a way.
Take a bow, champion and thank you for all the memories. You were and will always be an inspiration and would be remembered for all the good things you did for Indian cricket to take it to new heights.
(This is an opinion piece and the views expressed above are the author’s own. The Quint neither endorses nor is responsible for them.)
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