Fiery and temperamental, Yuvraj Singh has won many matches for India in his over 14-year international career. Hero of 2007 T20 World Cup, he again went on to play a pivotal role in 2011 when India won the ICC World Cup under MS Dhoni’s captaincy after a gap of 28 years.
However, the last four years have seen a lot of upheaval in the Punjab batsman’s life. From being diagnosed of a rare germ cell cancer to recovering from it, and later making it to the Indian squad to play for his country again, was indeed a story of sheer determination. But Yuvraj was never the same again. His dip in form coincided with the emergence of younger, energetic and more agile players, which led to his exit from the team.
Though his recent form, where he scored three centuries in as many matches in the Ranji Trophy, ignited hopes of his inclusion in 2015 WC squad, the selectors decided otherwise, as they announced the 15-member team – san Yuvraj -- to defend the Cup won at the Wankhede Stadium four years ago.
Remembering some of Yuvraj’s best one-day knocks, we list his top five innings in the three World Cups that he has played so far:
1) 2/24 and 113 vs WI, (Chennai, World Cup 2011)
Yuvraj Singh stood tall against the fierce West Indian bowling attack led by Ravi Rampaul on a Chepauk pitch which had considerable bounce. This was Yuvraj's maiden World Cup century during which he suffered dehydration, vomited on the field, but refused to give up.
Yuvraj and Kohli stitched together a partnership after the openers fell cheaply. During the partnership, Yuvraj pulled over midwicket, cover-drove for fours along the ground, swept the legspin of Devendra Bishoo, and on-drove Sammy over long-on for a majestic six. It was one of those days when Yuvraj was feeling it, one of those days when he played one level above the game around him.
2) 50 vs Pakistan (Centurion, 2003 World Cup)
Any India-Pakistan match is one of the most ferocious rivalries in the sports arena. Both teams put in their best efforts to usurp the other. And if it’s a World Cup encounter between these two teams, it gains even more importance.
Against a formidable bowling line-up which comprised of Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis, Shoaib Akhtar and Shahid Afridi, the young Yuvraj went on to score a 53-ball 50, which included six hits to the fence.
Yuvraj and Dravid ensured that India chased down 276 in the 46 over itself.
3) 83 vs Bermuda (Trinidad, 2007 World Cup)
This was a World cup that Yuvraj would probably want to forget. India were knocked out in the league stage itself after losses to Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.
But in the match against Bermuda Yuvraj and Sehwag went on a rampage and took India beyond the 400 mark. Yuvraj scored 83 off 46 balls, which included 3 fours and 7 sixes.
India eventually went on to win the match by 257 runs.
4) 2/44 and 57 vs Australia (Ahmedabad, second quarterfinal, World Cup 2011)
Ricky Ponting was in full flow as he struck a brilliant century to set India a challenging target of 261. This was Ponting's last World Cup, and the Australian captain intended on lifting another cup.
But Yuvraj decided to foil his plans with a superb all-round performance. The chase turned out to be a tricky affair with Yuvraj guiding India to a five-wicket victory which sent them into the semi-finals.
5) 5/31 and 50* vs Ireland (Bangalore, World Cup 2011)
Yuvraj Singh saved India the blushes against minnows Ireland as he picked up his first ODI five-wicket haul on a track where the other Indian spinners seemed toothless. Yuvraj, who has never been a big turner of the ball kept it simple -- he foxed the batsman with his variation in pace, using a scrambled seam.
Later, Yuvraj came onto bat when India were 24/2. They were 100 for 4 after the 24th over. Yuvraj combined with MS Dhoni and then Yusuf Pathan to take India past the finish line.