The highs and lows of Yuvraj Singh - The fighter
Yuvraj Singh is an inspiration to millions and needs no introduction. The man has seen it all in his life from gigantic highs to heart-wrenching lows.
Once seen as a child prodigy with exceptional talent, Yuvraj had won a national level skating competition followed by a titular role in the movies as a child artist. His father, former India Test player Yograj Singh wanted him to be a cricketer and asked him to focus only on cricket. Yuvraj toiled hard and rose through the ranks.
His consistent scores in the junior level playing for Punjab, which included a massive 358 against Bihar helped him earn a berth in the India U-19 World Cup team.
Yuvraj impressed everyone with his all-round show scoring 203 runs and picking 12 wickets in eight matches. This earned him the "Man of the Series" award and a subsequent call-up to the Indian ODI side in October 2000.
#1 Dream Debut against Australia in 2000 - Nairobi
Even though Yuvraj made his debut against Kenya in the ICC Knockout Championship, he did not get to bat. He bowled an economical spell of 4 overs conceding 15 runs.
The first real opportunity for Yuvraj was against an all-conquering Australia led by the legendary Steve Waugh in the quarter-final of the ICC Knockout Championship, which was actually his second ODI match.
Sourav Ganguly won the toss and India opted to bat. Sachin Tendulkar started off the proceedings for India with a very entertaining cameo which included 3 hits over the fence. Once Sachin fell for 38, India lost a few wickets and were reeling at 92 for 4. In walked Yuvraj Singh, the flamboyant 18-year-old.
The second delivery he faced was dispatched to the mid-wicket boundary and he looked like a confident youngster facing a world-class attack. He built useful partnerships with Vinod Kambli and Robin Singh and batted well with the tail to push India to a score of 265. He scored 84 from 80 deliveries with 12 crunching boundaries.
He also affected a crucial run-out of Michael Bevan and India comfortably won the match by 20 runs. This effort gave him his first ever MoM in International cricket.
He performed well against South Africa in the semi-finals and Indian fans believed that a new star was born.