?Had it not been for a knee injury he picked up while playing kho-kho, Yuvraj Singh would have shattered all records in white ball cricket, feels his father Yograj Singh.
India’s 2011 World Cup hero Yuvraj announced his retirement from all forms of the game on Monday, drawing curtains to a career which has seen him being rated as one of the best one-day players India have ever produced.
“Had it not been for the knee injury he suffered while playing kho-kho when Greg Chappell was the coach, Yuvraj could have broken all the ODI and T20 international records,” Yograj was quoted as saying by the Indian Express.
“The Indian team during the Chappel era played indigenous games for warm-up before net sessions. I cannot forgive Chappell for that,” said Yograj, who played one Test and six ODIs for India in the early ’80s.
Yuvraj is known to have shared a frosty relationship with his father over the years, and Yograj echoed his son in saying that the two spent quality time in Chandigarh recently to bury all the differences.
Yuvraj had said that he had a chat with his father which killed all the “demons” inside him during his formative years, when he used to consider Yograj a “dragon”.
“Last week, we spent two days in Chandigarh together and those were my best two days since Yuvraj started playing. We talked about those things, which we could not talk earlier. He tried to understand me. Today, when he thanked me for making him a man, I felt the proudest,” said Yograj.
“It has been 40 years since I was dropped from the Indian team and I have lived with this pain through out my life,” said Yograj.
“Yuvraj’s story began at that time. He was one-and-half-years old when I got him his first cricket bat and ball. My mother Gurnam Kaur bowled the first ball to him. We still have that picture.
“Growing up, he would skate and play tennis but I would break his skates and tennis racquets. He would cry and call our Sector 11 house a jail. He would call me ‘Dragon Singh’. But then as a father I had the right to ask my son to get back my honour and make me walk with pride again,” Yograj said.
“Yuvraj was six when I took him to the Sector 16 Stadium, where I used to train. There used to be a pace academy and I would tell Yuvraj to practice without helmet.
“He would run for more than one-and-a-half hours in the stadium daily. I remember once my mother was on her death bed and she told me that I was spoiling Yuvraj’s life with such a harsh training. That was the only time I regretted being harsh on my son.
“Yuvi hated cricket and I made him love cricket, which is his life now. Usko cricket ki intoxication ho gayi and now the whole world knows what he has achieved,” Yograj added.
Yuvraj (37) hit four half-centuries and a century, while also picking up 15 wickets — including a five-for against Ireland — on his way to the Man of the Tournament award in the 2011 World Cup. But just after that, the dashing southpaw was diagnosed with mediastinal seminoma, a germ-cell tumour located between his two lungs.
“When he suffered from cancer, it made me cry too. I would ask God that this story cannot end this way. I would cry in my room all alone. I didn’t cry in front of him. He would tell me that ‘Papa, even I die, I want you and the whole country to see the World Cup trophy in my hands’,” said Yograj.