A final salute to the six-hitting machine, Yuvraj Singh
The dreaded day has finally arrived. The moment of Yuvraj Singh's retirement was creeping up for years. We could all see his diminishing powers, but were still waiting for one last glorious run from the man who had an abundance of finesse, timing and talent.
Yuvraj fought hard to make a comeback to the national team. Alas, the competition in the Indian cricket team is immense. And not getting selected in the team for the World Cup 2019 was the final nail in the coffin.
Does that make the man any less popular? The answer is an emphatic 'no'.
In an era of greats like Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly, Rahul Dravid and Virender Sehwag, Yuvraj created and inspired an enormous following not just in India but all over the world. Despite never being formally appointed captain of the Indian team, he achieved a position of eminence in all our minds.
Any youngster growing up in the first decade of the 21st century would have been mesmerized by the flamboyance and class of Yuvraj. His name resonates with passion and determination to help India become a powerhouse in world cricket.
It's been 19 years since his debut on 3rd October 2000, when as an 18-year-old he entered the international era with a bang. Since then he has given us countless memorable events to remember. Helping India win the 2007 World T20 and 2011 World Cup were undoubtedly the most cherished of those memories.
The 6 sixes off Stuart Broad was the stuff of fantasies dreamed by each and every Indian cricket fan. The greed in the fans wanted to him to do that again and again, even though it was a feat that was borderline supernatural. Such was the talent and the greatness of the man.
Yuvraj's record of the fastest T20I 50, off just 12 balls, is yet to be broken. Suffice to say it will take a Herculean attempt to even get close to it in the future.
This man even fought cancer and returned back to cricket. He first felt the effects of the disease during the course of the 2011 World Cup, but still performed brilliantly and went on to win the Man of the Tournament award.
Yuvraj played for eight more years after recovering from the deadly ailment. He kept us all in awe with his brave and fighting attitude.
Words can never truly define his cricketing journey.
It has all come to a fitting end, where the greats of cricket have come forward and wished him luck for the second innings of his life. Tendulkar, Kohli, Raina, Sehwag etc all paid rich tributes to this great cricketer.
The only thing left now is to humbly salute him for his dedicated service to the Indian team, and for entertaining a nation of a billion-plus people over and over again!