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“Yuvraj Singh is the story of his father s heart and emotions,” said dad Yograj Singh, at the launch of veteran journalist Makarand Waingankar’s book on the southpaw, titled Yuvi PTI

It was a star-studded affair when former cricket administrator and senior journalist Makarand Waingankar s book on Yuvraj Singh, titled Yuvi, was launched on Tuesday at the Khar Gymkhana in Mumbai.

Mumbai s former chairman of selectors Milind Rege hosted the show in the presence of former India captains Kapil Dev and Dilip Vengsarkar, 1983 World Cup hero Balwinder Singh Sandhu and Yograj Singh, Yuvraj Singh s father and himself a former India cricketer. Also present in the audience were several Mumbai and India players Rohit Sharma, Abhishek Nayar and Iqbal Abdullah, to name a few.

Yograj Singh, who has played a major part in Yuvraj s success, touched the hearts of the packed gathering by speaking straight from his heart. “Meri zindagi jazbaato se shoroo hoti hai aur jazbaato par khatam hoti hai (My life starts with emotions and ends with emotions), he said.

Cricketers share a bitter-sweet relationship with cricket writers, which is why it was heartening to hear Yograj thank Makarand Waingankar and his wife Sandhya profusely for all that the couple had done not only for him in his playing days, but also for young Yuvraj in his formative years. Waingankar has been never afraid to call a spade a spade, but the man has also played a huge part in helping Indian cricket and cricketers like very few in the country. And as everyone agreed, the publishers Harper Sport were bang on in picking the right man to pen Yuvi s life story.

“First of all, I would like to thank the people of India who have prayed for my son s well being; to journalists who have motivated him, to show him a new way of life. I am grateful to all of you, eternally,” said Yograj.

“I want to thank Makarand Waingankar, for bringing me to Mumbai and giving me all the love and affection. This is the same man who also brought Yuvi to Mumbai and gave him the same love and affection, and trained him at the Dilip Vengsarkar Cricket Academy. What Yuvi is today is because of this man,” Yograj said, pointing to Waingankar.

“When it comes to talking about Yuvraj, people say that he is his father s creation. It isn t like that. Yuvraj Singh is a gift from God. Today, I salute that son for what he has achieved. I didn t realize that the boy has matured so much with time. I want to salute this boy for what he has achieved from the people of the country the love and affection. Such children are god-sent and I bow to his achievements.

Yuvraj Singh is the story of his father s heart and emotions. A lot of books will be written on him, a lot of people will speak about him, but my son is a story of my emotions and all the love that you all have showered on him. I have also written a book, but that book is incomplete.”

Yograj described how he motivated Yuvraj when he was battling cancer in USA.

“When Yuvraj had cancer, he called up and told me, ‘Dad, I am sick. I told him, ‘Shame on your life, being a son of this father, you can t say you are sick. You can t be sick. You can t die, you can t be killed by anything. Because your life s story is unfinished. “

Former India skipper Dilip Vengsarkar remembered the first time Yuvraj Singh came to his academy.

“When Yuvi came in to the academy for the first time, he reached two hours late. The training starts at three o clock, he reached at five o clock in the evening and he was very upset. I asked, ‘Kya hua, Yuvi? (What happened, Yuvi?) To that Yuvraj said, ‘Uncle, I want to return home, I don t want to stay in Bombay. So I asked what happened, Yuvraj replied, ‘The train journey from Andheri, I can t handle it. I was coming with my kit bag and I missed three trains; and the fourth train that I got, people pushed me out of the train at Dadar. So he called his father and explained to him what happened to which his father said, ‘Yuvi, you stay because Mumbai can teach you what cricket is. “

“That same evening, I told other players who were staying at Andheri to tell Yuvraj how to manage, like Ramesh Powar. He was slightly bigger than what he is today. And then I overheard Ramesh s conversation with Yuvraj. Ramesh was telling him the technique to get in the train. ‘Yuvi, kya karne ka maloom hai? Yeh jo kit bag hai na, yeh jaise train ayega, waise andar ghus jane ka, sabko dhakka mardene ka. (Yuvi, you know what to do? The moment the train arrives, you push and go inside the train with your kit bag. Just push everyone and get in.) Ramesh continued, ‘Tu jab andar jayega, khopche mein ja ke khara rehne ka. (The moment you go inside, go and stand in the corner.)

The next day, he was very happy. He came on time, at three. I asked whether everything was fine or not. He said, ‘Yes, uncle, everything was fine. I did just like Ramesh had asked me to. But only one problem occurred; the moment I pushed and got inside, two people fell out. So he kept coming for the next two-three months and he worked hard.”

“The talent that time we could see (sic) was extremely good, he could clear the ground effortlessly,” Vengsarkar added.

Vengsarkar said that he really feels that if there is one area where Yuvraj still needs to work on, that’s Test cricket.

“Yuvraj is an extremely talented, focused cricketer. However, over the years he hasn t played many Test matches. I really feel bad about it. When India toured Pakistan, Yuvi scored an outstanding innings and scored a magnificent hundred in Lahore, and also when Pakistan was playing the Test in Bangalore, he scored a brilliant 169. However, he got injured in one of the training sessions, because of which he couldn’t play for a year. That, I feel, was a let-down for him because he is such an outstanding cricketer. The shots he executes would make Garry Sobers proud.”

Kapil Dev, the 1983-World-Cup-winning skipper, said that Yuvraj needs to stay focused and compared him to a superman.

He said, “God has created man and God created superman also. And the person about whom we are talking about, an extremely talented cricketer, Yuvraj has changed turn-by-turn in to an outstanding cricketer. That boy, who came out from Chandigarh, became famous not only in India, but also in other cricketing countries. I think Yuvraj has won people s hearts all over the world. People who go through certain difficult times, they can come back with a bang. There is no better stroke player in the world like him. But, he needs to establish himself in Test cricket. He needs to focus better.”

Former India medium-pacer Balwinder Singh Sandhu cracked a few jokes. “Yograj s speech was emotional and whatever he said, was from the heart. You see, he is a Jat and so am I. Whatever we do, we do it from the heart. The only difference being mine is the Dilip Vengsarkar-Marathi Jat and his is the original Jat. This is the reason that when (Malcolm) Marshall bowled the ball which came and hit me on my head, he didn t know there is nothing in the upper part. Whatever is there is in the heart. This is the reason I think Yuvraj, being a Jat, didn t let the disease affect him mentally and came out as a stronger person.”

“I have seen Yograj play in Times Shield matches. I have seen both him and Kapil Dev play together. One of the reasons why Kapil is so good a player and so competitive is because of Yograj. If Yograj used to practice for one hour, Kapil used to practice for one hour and fifteen minutes. If Kapil practiced for one hour and fifteen minutes, then Yograj practiced for one hour thirty and it used to go on like this,” Sandhu said.