‘Don’t think I can sit there’: When Yuvraj Singh refused to sit next to Sachin Tendulkar
Yuvraj Singh walked into the Indian team at a time when the likes of Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid were the superstars of Indian cricket. Yuvraj, who made his India debut during the ICC Knockout Trophy in the year 2000, revealed how he was awe struck by the presence of established names, not none more than the great Tendulkar, who was arguably the world’s best batsman at the time.
Shortly after being part of India’s victorious Under-19 World Cup campaign under the leadership of Mohammad Kaif, Yuvraj was sharing the dressing room with the people had idolised. Yuvraj revealed how during one of his early days with the Indian cricket team, he refused to take a vacant seat next to Tendulkar.
“I can’t really explain what it was like to meet my childhood hero. I was over the moon, I was going in the dressing room before the camp started,” Yuvraj said in a video uploaded by Netflix titled ‘Stories Behind the Story.’
“I had only one seat available, which was next to Tendulkar. I told my manager ‘I don’t think I can sit there’. He said ‘No, he’s going to be your teammate now. You have to talk to him. So I slowly went there, kept looking him up and down and I was like ‘Wow, it’s actually him.’”
Yuvraj also revealed how Tendulkar reacted after spotting his picture in Yuvraj’s kit bag. “I opened my kit bag and had a picture of him. He looked at it and said ‘Nice picture! Who’s that batsman?’. He laughed after that. Then I think he had a conversation with me and tried to make me comfortable,” Yuvraj recalled.
Yuvraj and Tendulkar went on to play together for India in 2012, when the former India captain announced his retirement from ODI cricket. Tendulkar, with 482 runs, was the second-highest run-scorer of the tournament during India’s 2011 World Cup triumph, which the Indian team dedicated to the master batsman, who was playing his sixth and final World Cup. Yuvraj was named Player of the Tournament for his tally of 362 runs.