Dubai: Yuvraj Singh was the man of the tournament and played a pivotal role in Indian regaining the 50-World Cup in 2011.
It is still fresh in one’s memory when skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni clobbered Nuwan Kulasekara over deep midwicket at Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai, Yuvraj ran up to him to join in the celebrations on April 2.
Fast forward eight years, while Dhoni is very much part of the team strategy and is in impeccable form for his franchise Chennai Super Kings, Yuvraj is nowhere in sight. The writing is on the wall for Yuvraj, who will walk into the sunset at the end of the season. But before that he has scripted a different role for the new dawn and start life as an entrepreneur.
Speaking to Forbes, Yuvraj said: “The hardest thing to decide is the time to go. I have had some great highs, and some big lows. It’s my last year in cricket, and I want to go on a high note.”
But it seem highly unlikely that his wishes will come true.
The dashing all-rounder, who was not one of the initial picks in the auction, showed glimpses of his prowess during his half-century against Delhi Capitals and another cameo against Royal Challengers Bangalore. But subsequently the left-hander is not even seen on the Mumbai Indians bench and players such as Ankul Roy and Barinder Sran were part of the playing XI, while Yuvraj was conveniently neglected after a couple of low scores. Incidentally, it was April 3 that he has played his last game, scoring four against Chennai Super Kings. In this backdrop and with places for the play-offs hotting up, will Yuvraj get another chance? A tough question.
Life in sport has not been so kind to the talented Punjab all-rounder, who holds a record of hitting six sixes against Stuart Broad, has gone through a roller-coaster ride. On one end if he was on a high for his performance in Indian colours in 2011 World Cup, his life changed after being diagnosed with germ cell cancer in 2012.
But the braveheart that he is, who has conquered many demons in his head on a cricket field, he overcame the disease and returned to the Indian team. However, his laboured 21-ball 11 in the final of the 2014 World T20, which resulted in India losing the title to Sri Lanka, seemed to have ended his India stint. But he made another come back in 2016 and after lacklustre World Twenty20 in India, he was dropped again, only to return to the ODI side in 2017 after an impressive domestic season.
Yuvraj has been giving back to the society with his YouWeCan foundation, established with his mother Shabnam Singh in 2012, and it is working on spreading cancer awareness. In 2015, Yuvraj Singh announced that he intended to invest Rs400-500 million in online start-ups, which widened the horizon of the foundation by setting up YouWeCan Ventures.
After his career is over, Yuvraj is planning to get into business full time with a chain of gyms, health supplement products and fashion jewellery.
“Now I think about others and giving back. Yuvraj is not only a businessman out to make money. It’s about doing business with a big heart,” he told Forbes.
It’s a bane in the recent past that the honest servants of Indian cricket do not get a fitting farewell. Will he be able to play his final game before he bids adieu to the sport he loved? It’s a difficult proposition, but just the way he has taken many disappointments on his chin in the past and moved on, Yuvraj will be able to let this one go and will be ready to take a fresh guard.