Cricketer Yuvraj Singh at a press conference in Gurgaon. PTI/Atul Yadav
Recuperating from a rare germ-cell cancer, India's World Cup hero Yuvraj Singh on Wednesday said that he has developed a "cherished friendship" with Sachin Tendulkar over the years and the iconic batsman has always been in his thoughts during his two-month treatment in the United States.
Yuvraj, who returned to the country after spending more than two months in the US and London to recuperate from a malignant tumour between his lungs, rued that he could not be part of the Indian team when Tendulkar hit his 100th international century.
"I was in touch with Sachin while he was in Australia. I also wanted his 100th hundred. He has always inspired me," Yuvraj said at his first media interaction after returning home.
"I wanted to be part of the team when Sachin got his 200 in ODIs, got his 100th hundred but unfortunately I was not there. I was there in thoughts and congratulated him.
"It's a very big achievement. It's just amazing that he has played for so many years. I have developed a cherished friendship with him. Unfortunate that I wasn't there when he got the 100th hundred," he said.
The 30-year-old batsman said that he was delighted when Tendulkar came to see him in London after his treatment in the US.
"It was great to see him in London. I didn't want this to come out but media would have known. I was delighted to see him," said Yuvraj.
"He has been a legend in Indian cricket, a great guy. It was great motivation for me. It was a great that he came all the way to see me."
Yuvraj also praised India's ODI vice-captain Virat Kohli whom he described as a "very special kid".
"He is a very special kid, very talented. I have learnt from him. His focus and work ethic is immense. I feel why I did not have a work ethic like him. In his age, you can be vulnerable but he is very focussed. He is doing phenomenally well, I am really happy for him," he said.
Asked about the most cherished innings in his career, Yuvraj said, "The 57 against Australia in the semifinal (of the World Cup) was a very special innings for me because when I was struggling, I would always visualise that I get the winning runs against Australia. So, that's why it is so special for me. The runs are not many but are very important."