Yuvraj Singh: The biggest match-winner from India
If we will go down the memory lane and study the history of cricket in India, 1983 would have a great significance. It was the year when India lifted the World Cup in England, what transpired next was the rise in the popularity of the game in the country. That World Cup win by the Kapil Dev-led team inspired many to play the game.
Such a moment of joy came once again in 2007, when India won the inaugural T-20 World Cup and it was replicated in 2011 at the Wankhede Stadium when India lifted the 50 over World Cup after a long wait of 28 years.
Apart from MS Dhoni being the captain on both those occasions, it had one other thing in common. Yuvraj Singh turned out to be India's biggest match winner in both the World Cup winning campaigns, also being named the Player of the Series in the latter. Such has been the value of the southpaw in Indian cricket. But it's very disheartening to see people forgetting the good and remembering the hard times. He is recalled by many as the reason for India's loss in the 2014 T-20 World Cup.
But have you ever thought of the semi-final in the inaugural World T-20. Mighty Aussies were a tough challenge and India was in deep trouble at Durban. It was Yuvraj's six-studded (30-ball 70) devastating knock that lead the recovery from 41-2 in 8 overs and took India to a match winning total of 188. Even in the 2011 World Cup against the 4-time World Cup winners and the defending champions, the game was in a tricky situation with India needing 74 runs from 12 overs with the last recognized pair batting. It was Yuvi and Raina who steered the ship to mark a famous win and rule the defending champs out of the World Cup.
If we talk about India's 2011 World Cup winning campaign, then the discussion would be incomplete without taking the name of "Yuvraj Singh". In fact, the successful campaign would have been improbable without the Sixer King. Not only did he contribute massively with the bat, his golden arm allowed Dhoni to play an extra batsman and maintain the balance of the side. He finished as the 8th highest run-getter with 362 runs at a stupendous average of 90.5 and 6th highest wicket-taker with 15 wickets, earning himself 4 Man of the Match awards and the Player of the Tournament award with such impactful performances.
If Dhoni had earned the title of the finisher, it's not a hidden fact that Yuvi was his partner-in-crime for a long time. It was quite unfortunate that when the Punjab 'Puttar' was at the peak of his game, his life turned upside down. He was diagnosed with cancer. It came as a shock to his fans and the cricketing fraternity.
Kudos must be given to the swashbuckling batsman who not only recovered from his illness but also went on to wear the blue jersey again. He has had his issues with fitness for a while now, understandably so after cancer and has been in and out of the team.
But it was the fighter in Yuvi that emerged despite facing such hardships in life, he played 2 T-20 World Cups and innumerable ODIs when almost everyone conceived that his career was all but over.
Many a time, stats are very deceptive. They don't tell you the exact story. He may not have the numbers of Sachin, Ganguly, Dravid and Sehwag but the amount of impact Yuvraj has had, it will not be wrong in calling him one of the biggest match winners India has ever produced in limited overs cricket.