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Yuvraj Singh, the cricketing hero every 90s kid is going to miss

"He was always the man of the big occasions. In times when Sachin’s dismissal meant the end of hopes, Yuvraj kept the television sets on across the country"

These are golden times in Indian cricket, the era of Dhoni and Kohli. It’s a phase where Indian team is expected to win everything and they more often than not do. Be it the champion’s trophy, the world cup or a test series on foreign soil, India are always the favourites. We have openers who can destroy the best of bowling line ups. We have the best number three in the world, fast bowlers who can bounce oppositions out and power hitters who can smash sixes out of the park. We are a perfect team. But it wasn’t always so. There was a time in Indian cricket when we were languishing in middle of the rankings table. We had great batsmen but we didn’t have a batting dominance like today. And fast bowling was so foreign to us, that a bowler who could bowl 135 was considered really fast. Yes, in a cricket crazy nation of over a billion, there was time when nothing was in order. There was quantity but little quality. In those days, we were expected to lose every match. And it was in these times of the 2000s when Yuvraj Singh walked into the cricket arena and took the load of carrying India past the finishing line.

The famous Ganguly shirt-off at the lords, the T-20 world cup of 2007 and the winning six of 2011 world cup after 32 years, there was one thing common, rather one man common in all of these great events of India’s cricketing history, Yuvraj Singh. He was always the man of the big occasions. In times when Sachin’s dismissal meant the end of hopes, Yuvraj kept the television sets on across the country. In early 2000s he was this agile youngster who reminded of Jonty Rhodes and batted with great responsibility, unmatched in cricketers of his age. And then came the T-20s and Yuvraj Singh turned into a six-hitting beast, likes of which India had never seen before. Everyone remembers the six sixes, but people like us, the 90s kids who grew up along with him relate to that sound off his bat. It was so different, so pleasing. The swing, the timing, it was all so surreal. Yuvraj Singh had opened the doors of a new dimension of cricket for India. His 2007 world cup heroics marked the advent of power hitters in cricketing system of India. He was growing, year after year and right when we thought he couldn’t surprise us anymore, he battled with cancer and carried himself past the finishing line like he has done so many times for India. And he did all that while he won the world cup for India, the man of the tournament Yuvraj Singh, the man who defied death, Yuvraj Sixer King Singh.

All good things come to an end. For some lucky ones, the end is beautiful. It’s a farewell. And for others it’s abrupt and difficult. As if he had seen the future beforehand, that old ad where he spoke very endearingly “Jab tak balla chal raha hai thaat chal raha hai..”, went on to actually define his future. Let’s admit it, he was never the same guy after he made his comeback. That lovely sound off the bat was still there but consistency took a back seat and due to some unknown reasons he wasn’t given a very long rope to hit form again. We had lost the real Yuvraj Singh then, not to cancer, but to system perhaps. The retirement was only impending. We all knew it was going to come, but refused to believe it. We just loved him too much. And when it came, it left us wanting. This was not the way to send-off a player of Yuvraj’s stature. But there is little that can be done now. The pain of not seeing him bat for one last time in Indian jersey will forever be there. Let this be a message to our champion, allow us the fans to carry this pain brother, you have done way too much for Indian cricket to sulk about anything in your life. Keep hitting those balls out of the park. We’ll follow you wherever you play.