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India’s all-time best all-rounder Yuvraj Singh announced his decision to retire from all forms of cricket on Monday (June 10). In nearly two decades at the highest level, since his ODI debut against Kenya in 2000, Yuvraj featured in 40 Tests, 304 ODIs and 58 T20Is, while also playing a pivotal role in India’s two big triumphs – the 2007 World T20 and the 2011 World Cup.
In a press conference in Mumbai, the 37-year-old made the announcement, saying: “It’s was great rollercoaster ride and beautiful story but it has to come to an end. It was the right time to go.”
Yuvraj was a product on the U-19 set up, impressing with 203 runs in the World Cup in 2000 and making his way to the senior side in less than a year. Though he turned heads with an 80-ball 84 in just his second ODI – against Australia, it wasn’t until the run chase in the NatWest series final at the Lord’s that made him a household name. A 63-ball 69 after a top-order collapse in chase of 327 made him an overnight hero, and in less than a year since he represented the senior side in the World Cup.
Yuvraj proved to be an asset in the shortest format as well, finishing with a career strike rate of 136.38 in the 58 T20I he played for India. He also famously pulled off the feat of smashing six sixes in a single over – against Stuart Broad in the 2007 World T20 – which is yet to be matched in the format in international cricket. Intriguingly though, by his lofty standards, his IPL numbers – 2750 runs at an average of 24.77 in 132 matches – are a tad underwhelming. Yet, he has twice been the top draw in the tournament – fetching bids of INR 14 crore and 16 crore in two successive auctions.
Yuvraj’s finest hour came in the 2011 50-over World Cup, where he orchestrated India’s knockout punch on three-time champions Australia in the quarterfinal. Yuvraj amassed 362 runs in that tournament – hitting four fifties and a century – while also coming into his own as more than just a part-time bowler – picking 15 wickets, the second-best tally for an Indian in that edition of the World Cup. In ODIs overall, he finished with 111 wickets.