Yuvraj Singh retires: Interesting facts about India’s 2011 World Cup warrior

Yuvraj Singh, the hero of India’s 2011 ICC Cricket World Cup win, has called time on his international career, marking the end of an era. Here are few interesting facts from his highly decorated international career.

1. Skater Yuvraj

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 sacrifice who commanded him to pursue cricket.

READ: Yuvraj Singh announces international retirement

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.’

3. Advice from Ramesh Powar

Yuvraj had a tough time dealing with the local trains in Mumbai. Dilip Vengsarkar recalled that Yuvraj once reached training at 5.00 pm instead of the scheduled 3.00 pm start for practice. Yuvraj was completely frustrated by the crowd and could not board a few trains and was pushed out of a few. Vengsarkar then asked Ramesh Powar, a young off-spinner who went on to become Yuvraj’s India teammate, to help him out. Vengsarkar said that Powar advised Yuvraj to push himself through the compartment and stand in a corner. The following day, Yuvraj arrived on time and said that he followed the instructions, but when he pushed his way through, two people fell out from the other side of the train.

4. The child actor

As a child, Yuvraj acted in a couple of movies. Yograj Singh, Yuvraj’s father, had also got into films after his retirement.

5. 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.

6. Triple ton in under-19 cricket

Playing for the Punjab under-19s against Bihar under-19s in the Cooch Behar Trophy final in December 1999, Yuvraj smashed 358 off 404 balls. His innings featured 40 fours and six sixes. Interestingly, future Indian skipper MS Dhoni was a part of the opposition and had scored 84 when his team batted.

7. 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.

8. 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.

9. The computer game

Brian Lara Cricket, a computer and video game series by Codemasters was very popular. In 2007, it was launched in India under the name of Yuvraj Singh International Cricket 2007.

10. The voice-over artist

In 2008, Yuvraj leant his voice for the animated movie titled Jumbo. Yuvraj had given his voice for the character of Rajkumar Vikram. Akshay Kumar and Lara Dutta were some of the other prominent stars who also gave their voice for the film.

11. An Audi for the 2011 World Cup

In 1985, Ravi Shastri had famously won an Audi for helping India clinch the World Series Down Under. In 2011, when Yuvraj Singh’s all-round performance helped India lift the World Cup, Audi presented a Q5 to him. This was not the first time he had been presented a car for his feats on the field of play. In 2007, his breathtaking performances in the ICC World T20 won him a Porsche 911. The then Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) vice-president Lalit Modi had announced the prize.

12. 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.