Yuvraj Singh, arguably one of India’s biggest matchwinners, has revealed that the most memorable times of his cricket career came under Sourav Ganguly and that the former left-hander’s support was unparalleled, something which he never experienced under MS Dhoni or even Virat Kohli. Also Read - VIDEO: Virat Kohli's Dance Moves During Live WTC Final Match at Southampton Goes Viral
Yuvraj made his debut under Ganguly during the ICC Knockout Champions Trophy in the year 2000 but it was under Dhoni that his batting graph really took off when he smashed six sixes in Durban in 2007 or was the Player of the Tournament in India’s victorious 2011 World Cup campaign. Yuvraj returned for one last run with India under Kohli and although the left hander roared back with a glittering 150 against England in 2017, a strong of low scored pushed him out of the team. Also Read - WTC Final Match Report: Kyle Jamieson's Five-for, Devon Conway's Fifty Help New Zealand Take Advantage Over India on Day 3
Having last played for India in June 2017 in an ODI against West Indies, Yuvraj announced his retirement from international cricket on June 10. Also Read - MATCH HIGHLIGHTS IND vs NZ WTC Final, Day 3 Cricket Updates: Ishant Strikes, Conway Falls; New Zealand 101/2 at Stumps vs India
“I have played under Sourav (Ganguly) and had a lot of support from him. Then Mahi (MS Dhoni) took over. It’s a difficult choice to make between Sourav and Mahi. I have more memories of time under Sourav because of the support he gave me. I didn’t have that kind of support from Mahi and Virat (Kohli),” Yuvraj told Sportstar in an interview.
Of the many impactful innings that lit up his wonderful cricket career, Yuvraj picked his knock of 169 against Pakistan in Bengaluru 2007 and the half-century against Australia in the quarterfinal of the 2011 World Cup as two of his best. Against Pakistan, India were reduced to 61/4 batting first before Yuvraj and Ganguly put together a 300-run stand for the fifth wicket as India piled 626 and the match ended in a draw. Four years later in the World Cup, against Australia, India, at 5/187, were in a spot of bother in chase of 261 when Yuvraj and Suresh Raina saw them over the line.
“The 169 at Bangalore (in 2007 when India was 61 for four) and the 57 not out against Australia in the 2011 World Cup quarterfinal. The knocks came under tremendous pressure. The six sixes (in an over) were very memorable. The last three overs I had to swing every ball. The sixth ball I was expected a yorker. He (Stuart Broad) was under pressure and I was prepared. I just hit it straight,” Yuvraj revealed.
Yuvraj explained he always had a tough time facing Muttiah Muralitharan and how Sachin Tendulkar’s advice helped him tackle the spin wizard. “I really struggled against (Muttiah) Muralitharan. Had no clue against him. Glenn (McGrath) would trouble me a lot with the away-going delivery. Luckily I didn’t play much against McGrath because Test matches I was sitting out and cheering for the seniors. Then Sachin (Tendulkar) told me to start sweeping (against Muralitharan) and I was at ease,” the former batsman said.
Weighing in on today’s youngsters, Yuvraj felt their attitude towards domestic or Test cricket isn’t what it used to be during his time, and blames the money-yielding nature IPL for a lack of commitment towards a more competitive level of cricket.
“Today, the youngsters get such (lucrative) IPL contracts even before playing for India that they don’t want to play four-day cricket. The attitude towards four-day cricket and Test cricket is very poor. I was a guy who was desperate to play Test cricket. In my 17 years of career, I played 40 Tests. Seven years I was in and out of the team because there was competition in the middle order,” he said.
“IPL offers big money and it takes away the focus (from the youngsters). Not the current lot. They want to play Tests but the younger lot, who play one-day cricket mostly, their focus is to play IPL and not four-day cricket for the states. From the interaction with the youngsters, you realize that they can do with more respect for the seniors. It is not the same that we gave to our seniors. There has to be a certain amount of respect towards the seniors, who have taught you so much.”