Often seen as an authoritative father, Yograj Singh Tuesday admitted being harsh on Yuvraj sometimes as he wanted to prove a point but said he always remained proud of his son. Yuvraj on Monday brought the curtains down on a roller-coaster international career, the pinnacle of which was his exploits in India’s 2011 World Cup triumph. “I am very grateful to a son like him. I thank my son and I always tell him (Yuvraj) that I am proud of him,” Yograj, who played a lone Test and six ODIs for India, told PTI over the phone. “….if you (Yuvraj) think I have been very harsh to you, I wanted to prove a point to the people and I hope you understand,” added the 61-year-old, on whose insistence the swashbuckling batsman took up cricket as a career.
Yuvraj’s relationship with his father has been far from perfect with the left-handed batsman saying he was like a “dragon” to him. However, just before he decided to call it quits from international and first-class cricket, Yuvraj said he managed to “achieve a closure” with his father. “I actually made peace with it a couple of days ago when I was talking about it to my father. I spoke to him, demons inside as young kid came out and that conversation happened with him and he came with his side of the story. And it was a very peaceful moment for me to have that closure and have that chat with him because I had never had that chat with him in the last 20 years,” Yuvraj said.
“He’s always been like a dragon to me and just facing the dragon was a very difficult task for me,” he added after announcing his retirement. Yograj said he always wanted Yuvraj to go to “Bombay” in his fledgling days and playing in Mumbai transformed the flamboyant all-rounder into a “good cricketer”. He also thanked noted columnist Makarand Waingankar for helping him and his son in their respective careers.
Former India batsman Chandu Borde, who was a selector when the batting all-rounder was picked in the national side, dubbed Yuvraj as “a courageous person who is an inspiration to others”. “Because of the way he kept himself fit in spite of adverse physical problems and got over those problems, hats off to him. He showed others never to give up and till the end, he kept on fighting. I am happy the way he performed for the country and his state,” said 84-year-old Borde, who stays in Pune.
Yuvraj’s battle with cancer soon after the 2011 World Cup triumph was perhaps the biggest challenge that he had encountered. Asked specifically whether he saw the spark in Yuvraj at 20, Borde said, “Yes, he showed the talent and at that time his contribution to the team was good — he was a good left-arm spinner, fielder and batsman — and what else you want.”
Tall, willowy and ethereal, Yuvraj’s unlimited talent and charisma made him a limited overs legend, but he will walk into the sunset feeling he has not done enough in Tests.