On his 37th birthday, here are some memorable facts about Yuvraj.
1. As a kid, Yuvraj was very fond of roller-skating. In fact, he won the National U-14 Roller Skating Championship. But Yograj Singh, his father, threw away the medal and told his son to focus on cricket. Yuvraj was also good with tennis. But both his love had to be sacrificed which commanded him to pursue cricket.
2. Move to Mumbai
As a teenager, Yuvraj was sent to Mumbai to train at the Elf-Vengsarkar Cricket Academy. During his stay in Mumbai, Yuvraj lived with cricket writer Makarand Waingankar’s residence in Andheri, which is miles away from the academy. Waingankar recalls in his book Yuvi, that Yuvraj was intimidated by the number of people in Mumbai so much so that he told him, ‘Mac uncle. Bombay is full of people. Chandigarh is full of trees.’
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3. Outscoring Jammu and Kashmir under-16s by 65 runs
Playing for the Punjab under-19s in a Vijay Merchant Trophy match against Jammu and Kashmir under-16s in 1996, Yuvraj smashed 279 out of a team score of 498. Jammu and Kashmir under-16s managed only 65 and 149 in their two innings. This meant that Yuvraj alone had outscored the opposition’s match tally by 65 runs.
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4. First Indian to bat in T20 cricket and score a fifty
T20 cricket began in England in 2003 and that year three Indians — Yuvraj Singh, Mohammad Kaif and Virender Sehwag — were a part of the county cricket. On June 14, 2003, both Yuvraj and Kaif became the first Indians to play T20 cricket when Yorkshire faced Derbyshire. Yuvraj scored 44 in that match. A couple of days later, Yuvraj hit 71 against Sehwag’s Leicestershire to become the first Indian to score a fifty in T20 cricket.
5. Only player with six sixes in an over against a frontline bowler
Out of the four people who have hit six sixes in an over in representative cricket, Yuvraj is the only one to have done it off a frontline bowler. Also, he is the only man to have hit six sixes off a fast bowler. Garry Sobers, Ravi Shastri and Herschelle Gibbs, all did it against spinners. Yuvraj managed it against Stuart Broad, the England fast bowler.
6. The heartening return from cancer
Through the 2011 World Cup, Yuvraj battled with health issues. Unknown to anyone, a tumour had developed in his left lung. He continued to play until the end of the year when it was diagnosed as a malignant growth. Yuvraj flew to the United States of America for treatment in early 2012. Through his ordeal, he took inspiration from Lance Armstrong, the cyclist who overcame cancer to win the Tour de France numerous times. Only months after his chemotherapy cycles, Yuvraj returned to the Indian side and made his comeback during a T20 against New Zealand in September 2012. Since his comeback, Yuvraj has been a part of cancer awareness drives, which includes his own initiative named YouWeCan.
7. 150 versus England on comeback
Yuvraj registered his highest score after playing for more than 15 years in 2017 when he smashed a cracking 150 against England in Cuttack. The Punjab-born allrounder’s innings was studded with 21 four and three sixes to shut down his critics.