Harbhajan Singh Hails his Longtime Friend Yuvraj Singh
Starting off together since the Under-14 days, Harbhajan Singh and Yuvraj Singh have been two impeccable gems of Team India. The two cricketers have been inseparable and indestructible during their prime time of cricketing careers. Hence, the retirement of great Yuvraj has been most emotional for his longtime friend and former teammate Harbhajan. Spotted in Southampton, Harbhajan spoke whole-heartedly for his best bud Yuvraj claiming him above many legendary players he had played with.
Together, Yuvraj and Harbhajan had been part of the Men in Blue in many winning tournaments. From 2002 Natwest trophy to 2007 World T20 and 2011 World Cup tournaments, both have taken India to newer heights.
Talking about Yuvraj, Harbhajan said that the number four position vacated by his pal has still not been filled. India is yet to discover their number four batsman who could possibly be near to what Yuvraj has been. They have tried players like Hardik Pandya and KL Rahul, but again they cannot just stick with one. So much so, 12 players were tested at that particular position.
“Even today, the No 4 batting position that he’s vacated, hasn’t been filled. We haven’t been able to find a match-winner like him at No 4. He’s been a true champion for Team India. Wherever he’s played in the world, he’s shown that he’s a big match-winner. Talent wise, Yuvraj was by far better than anyone. He was extremely difficult to bowl to. I’ve played alongside so many legends but I would place Yuvraj Singh above many of them.”
Yuvraj in his prime, in today’s era, would’ve been the best batsman in the world: Harbhajan
The match-winner for India during 2005-2011, Yuvraj Singh was simply one of the best cricketers. His impact in the World Cup 2011 was unparalleled, where the whole world saw to his raw power.
According to Harbhajan, Yuvraj had the ability to decimate any bowler at his will. Then were the days when the white ball had a swing to it, yet Yuvraj was easily able to sneak runs. His ability to knock big scores and lead the team to win made him World’s deadliest batsmen.
Also, his friend, Harbhajan believes had today’s era seen Yuvraj in his prime, and he would undoubtedly be the best batsman.
“Yuvraj, in his prime, in today’s era, would have been the world’s best batsman,” Harbhajan told. “He ability was such that he would decimate any bowler at will. If back then five fielders were allowed inside the circle till the 40th over, Yuvraj would have been having a ball today.
“The white ball used to reverse, the surfaces were a lot tougher to score runs on. There was more spin. There always used to be a fielder around the third man, which is not the case today.”
World Cup 2011 and Inaugural World T20 has been Yuvi’s gift to India
Yuvraj last played for India in 2017, during their tour of the West Indies before being dropped. From 278 ODI innings, he made 8701 runs with a strike-rate of 87.68, hitting 14 centuries and 52 half-centuries. These records include his World Cup-winning 362 runs from eight innings he had played in his last World Cup.
After winning in 1983, Yuvraj accompanied MS Dhoni to reclaim the premier title of ICC cricket. Whereas, before 2011, Yuvraj gave a stunning performance in the inaugural World T20. And his strokeplay in that showpiece event till date is regarded as one of the best in cricket’s history.
Referring to the two tournaments, Harbhajan said that the two successful events have been Yuvraj’s best gift to India. Had it not been for him, India wouldn’t have been able to win the prestigious title back after 28 years.
“We wouldn’t have won the 2011 World Cup without him. Wining two World Cups (including WorldT20 in 2007) has been his biggest gift to India. Whenever I meet him, I always thank him for getting us those moments, medals which wouldn’t have been possible without him,” Harbhajan said.
At the emotional goodbyes by Yuvraj to cricket, Harbhajan said that even after Yuvraj told him about it, he didn’t expect it this soon.
“When I met him last, here in London, he told me: ‘I’m probably done this year.’ I said: ‘How about IPL?’ he said I’ve other things on plate. I’ll look at the other side of the world now,” Harbhajan said. “I didn’t expect him to do it so soon. Whether he was playing for India or not now, doesn’t matter. He gave his best to India. Even if he would’ve played 10-15 games more, and failed in them, he would’ve still been a legend. He’s already built a big legacy for himself, which will be difficult to fill.
Before the announcement, Yuvraj told Harbhajan about his retirement
Though everyone says the second innings is wonderful too, Harbhajan said it wouldn’t have the same fire. Now, cricket won’t be a part of Yuvi’s life, the one thing they as a cricketer had lived for. After Yuvraj texted him about his retirement before he announced it officially, it was an emotional moment for both the veteran stars of cricket.
“He had messaged me in the morning about this. I told him: ‘So, the day has come.’ He said: ‘Yes.’ It’s an emotional moment for us. When we started playing cricket, we never thought that there will be a day when we would have to kiss it goodbye. We used to live for the game.
“That wouldn’t be a part of him anymore. People say that ‘you’ll have a good ‘second innings,’ but you can’t have the same fun what you had while you were there in the middle. I can guarantee you as a player that the best moments of a player come when he/she is playing in the middle. Like other retired players, he’s always going to miss the game. What he’s achieved will remain in everyone’s mind.”
Famous for his smashing six sixes on the bowling of Stuart Broad, Yuvraj was known for delivering against Australia. And as many of his ODI knocks had shown before, he often rose to the occasion. The veteran match-winning star will always be remembered for his fighting spirit. The eagerness to bat, field and win was what kept the team alive.
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