New Delhi: There was wholehearted praise from across the border for Yuvraj Singh, who bid farewell to international cricket on Monday.
Former Pakistan pacer Shoaib Akhtar hailed Yuvraj’s career, saying the stylish southpaw was one of the most elegant left-handed batsmen India has ever produced.
“A rockstar, a match winner, a great junior and a very good friend of mine, Yuvraj has retired from international cricket. I remember for the first time I played against him in 2003 in Centurion during the World Cup where he played a beautiful knock... I went to him and talked to him. I was deeply impressed by his in-depth knowledge of the game,” Akhtar said in his YouTube channel.
“I don’t think India has produced a more elegant batsman than Yuvraj Singh. He used to play very fluently,” he added.
Akhtar also insisted that the 37-year-old will always be remembered for his impeccable performance in the 2011 World Cup and his six sixes, which he hit in an over in the 2007 World T20.
“He was a great cricketer, a great friend and a very patriotic Indian. He always wanted to win games for India and whenever he used to come to bat lower down the order, we always felt it was important to get him out or else he could take the game away,” said Akhtar while praising the stylish Indian left-hander.
“I wish him best of luck for the future. He is a TV product and I know he will do a lot of work on the small screen,” he added.
The former Pakistani speedster also advised Yuvraj to have two kids so that he can play with them.
“Congratulations on a fantastic career Yuvraj Singh. You were an amazing batsman and a brilliant fielder with big match temperament. Your fighting ability is very inspiring, we spent great time together. All the very best in your life ahead,” tweeted former Pakistan all-rounder Shahid Afridi on Monday.
Arguably, one of the greatest players to have donned the blue in white-ball cricket, Yuvraj was diagnosed with mediastinal seminoma, a germ-cell tumour located between his two lungs just after he helped MS Dhoni-led India clinch their second World Cup on home soil.
Yuvraj, now 37, hit four half-centuries and a century, while also picking up 15 wickets — including a five-for against Ireland — on his way to the Man of the Tournament award to star for the Men in Blue in the showpiece event in 2011.
India opener Rohit Sharma also hailed Yuvraj’s roller-coaster career and said the stylish southpaw deserved a better send-off after 17 years of top-flight cricket.
“You don’t know what you got till its gone. Love you brotherman. You deserved a better send off,” wrote the Indian vice-captain on Twitter.