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Yuvraj Singh was cricket's Ronaldinho - joie de vivre of watching them was more priceless than stats

Both knew how to light up the field in their own unique way.

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Yuvraj Singh was cricket's Ronaldinho - joie de vivre of watching them was more priceless than stats
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That Yuvraj Singh will never pull on the famous blue jersey is a loss, not only to Indian cricket fans but to anyone who ever cherished watching the game.

Talent in sports – like in life – is not democratically distributed and Yuvraj Singh had more than his fair share. Yet, like a Greek tragic hero – he even looked the part with his curly hair and chiselled jaws which could’ve even been borrowed from a demi-god – he failed to truly live up to his full potential.

Blessed with unique traits – athleticism, chutzpah, the ability to hit the ball cleanly and dollops of charisma, he was the prototype of the modern-day cricketer.

Sports is replete with heroes who could’ve been so much more despite all the laurels they won, and the athlete who most closely resembled Yuvraj Singh’s career graph, audacity and sheer ability to astound viewers was footballing legend Ronaldinho.

Like Yuvraj played the game of cricket with his quintessential Punjabi swag, Ronaldinho put the Brazilian joga bonito in football. Neither of them has the awe-inspiring stratospherically-high stats we have almost taken for granted form the Messi-Ronaldo complex or Virat Kohli but when they were on song in their respective fields, it was poetry in motion.

If Ronaldinho did rabonas, juggles, step overs and La Roulettes that lesser players wouldn’t dare try outside the playing field, Yuvraj Singh would try the most audacious of shots, the bat moving in a dreamy fluid arc. 

It was as if he was being controlled on PlayStation, that is if the folks at EA Games could ever rustle up a decent cricket graphics engine.

Sports, as any avid fan will tell you, is more than just numbers. It’s about nostalgia – the Greek word for pain from an old wound – a twinge in your heart that Don Draper called more powerful than memory. Yuvraj Singh and Ronaldinho were about that nostalgia, those memories that intertwined with your being. 

 

Where were you when Yuvraj Singh hit those six sixes off a shell-shocked Stuart Broad after an angry exchange with Andrew Flintoff? What were you doing when Ronaldinho’s feint shot left Petr Cech awestruck even as the whole field appeared to freeze?

 

What did you do when Yuvraj’s chase saw Sourav Ganguly extoll the virtues of non-manscaping to the world from Mecca of cricket?

 

Do you remember when Ronaldinho left David Seaman stuck to his goalpost as he dropped an audacious leaf-drop free-kick over him?

 

 

 

What did you feel when a young Yuvraj Singh – batting for the first time in international cricket – took on pace trio Bret Lee, Glen McGrath and Jason Gillespie and gave India a rare win over the mighty Aussies at a time when they were rarer than Left MPs in Lok Sabha are today.

 

Yet despite, all the gifts both of them failed to live up to those heights and there were too many nadirs for players of their calibre. Despite his heroics, Yuvi never manged to crack red-ball cricket like a Sehwag or light up the IPL – a league which was created partly thanks to his heroics in the 2007 ICC World T20.  

Ronaldinho also became a journeyman, failing to live up to the heights of his Barcelona days, moving from Barcelona to Milan to a host of clubs across the globe which also saw him participate in a futsal tournament in India.

But when it’s all said and done, we will always remember the two of them for they left us cherished memories, that burn so bright that we don’t even need YouTube. It’s as if they are embedded in our psyche and as along as their respective sports exist, their stories will always be part of us.

 

 

 

 

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