Fighting back tears, Yuvraj Singh Monday announced retirement from international cricket, ending a “rollercoaster” career during which he became the hero of India’s 2011 World Cup triumph and fought a gritty battle with cancer.
“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 in Mumbai.
“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 played 40 Tests, 304 ODIs and 58 T20Is for India. He put together 1,900 runs in the longest format, and 8,701 in the One Day Internationals, the format in which he enjoyed most success.
The dashing left-hander has ended his IPL career at the sixth highest earner over the 12 seasons of the Indian Premier League. According to InsideSport Moneyball, Yuvraj till date has got IPL salary contracts worth ₹ 85.60 crore. This included the ₹ 16 deal from Delhi Daredevils (now Delhi Capitals) in 2015. The amount was the highest ever then, only to be superseded later by Virat Kohli’s ₹ 17 crore deal from Royal Challengers Bangalore.
The past two IPL seasons however have been disappointing for Yuvraj Singh both on form and commercial front. In 2017, Kings XI Punjab had acquired him at the base price of ₹ 2 crore after there was no bid for one of the biggest icons in the shortest format of the game. A year later, this year Yuvraj was back on the auction table for a mere ₹ 1 crore base price after KXIP did not retain him.
Yuvraj again failed to find any bid in the IPL player auction for Season 12. Though Mumbai later agreed to pay ₹ 1 crore base price to get him in the Blue and Golden camp.
“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.
The attacking left-hander listed the 2011 World Cup triumph, being man of the match in the event’s final, getting six sixes in an over against England in the same tournament and his first Test hundred against Pakistan in Lahore in 2004 as the three most special moments of his career.
The battle with cancer soon after the 2011 World Cup triumph was perhaps the biggest challenge that he encountered. “I was not going to let that disease defeat me,” he said.
However, his cricketing form had been on the wane for a while. Yuvraj last played for India in a T20I against England in 2017. His last Test appearance was back in 2012.
He turned up for Mumbai Indians in this year’s IPL but didn’t get many chances.