Fighter Yuvraj Singh bids goodbye to cricket

The 37-year-old was contemplating retirement since 2018 IPL but has finally decided to move on.

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Fighter Yuvraj Singh bids goodbye to cricket
Yuvraj Singh kisses his mother Shabnam as his wife Hazel looks on after the cricketer announced his retirement from sport in Mumbai on Monday


More than two months after playing his last competitive match, Yuvraj Singh has announced his retirement from all international cricket and IPL.

The 37-year-old was contemplating retirement since 2018 IPL but has finally decided to move on. "I spoke with wife and mom for two years about wanting to retire and go out. Mentally, I was not happy," Yuvraj said here on Monday.

Announcing his retirement through a 15-minute film after which an emotional Yuvraj read out a statement highlighting his career's ebbs and flows, he said: "It was a great roller coaster ride, a beautiful story. But it has to come to an end."

The pinnacle of his career was winning four man of the match awards in the 2011 World Cup en route to helping India lift the trophy for the second time. Being player of the tournament in that World Cup was an icing on the cake which Yuvraj describes as the "biggest moment of his career".

But his joy was short-lived as soon after the World Cup high, he experienced the lowest moment of his life when was diagnosed with cancer (tumour in his left lung). His brave fightback out of it was something greater than any of his on-field achievements.

"Cancer has taught me a big lesson. I want to dedicate my life for improvement of society in terms of cancer and cricket, inspiring people through my journey," Yuvraj said.

It was not easy for Yuvraj to cement his place in the Indian team post the cancer recovery and even though he posted his highest ODI score of 150 in January 2017 after one of his many comebacks, the writing was on the wall as far as international cricket was concerned.

An integral part of the Indian team, especially in the limited-overs when Sourav Ganguly took over the captaincy in 2000, Yuvraj played pivotal roles in many a victory including the match-winning partnership with Mohammad Kaif in the Natwest Trophy final against England in 2002 and hitting six sixes in the 2007 World T20 off England pacer Stuart Broad in Durban.

The owner of the fastest international fifty in all formats – 12 balls in a T20I in 2007 – will now make himself available for the T20 leagues outside India and "enjoy life".

Among the regrets for Yuvraj was not playing in more than 40 Tests over nine years (2003-2012). "There was a time when it was very difficult to get a (Test) spot. For seven years, I sat out for 40 Test matches," he said.

Yuvraj's parting shot was: "I will miss being on the ground, wearing the India jersey (No. 12), diving, catching every ball, stopping every ball, scoring every run, that adrenalin of winning a game, seeing people with India flag cheering you, the high of seeing 70,000 people in the stadium all these were special for me."

More than him, though, the cricket world will miss his heroics and never-give-up attitude on and off the field.

Well played, Yuvi.

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