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Saturday, Aug 24, 2019

I was lucky to live and play cricket for India again: Yuvraj Singh

Yuvraj Singh will be playing his 300th ODI on Thursday when India play Bangladesh in an ICC Champions Trophy semifinal in Birmingham.

icc-champions-trophy-2017 Updated: Jun 14, 2017 19:56 IST
Soumitra Bose
Soumitra Bose
Hindustan Times, Birmingham
Yuvraj Singh will play his 300th ODI for India against Bangladesh and is proud and humbled by this achievement.
Yuvraj Singh will play his 300th ODI for India against Bangladesh and is proud and humbled by this achievement. (REUTERS)

Yuvraj Singh will achieve a personal milestone when he steps out to represent India in the ICC Champions Trophy semifinal against Bangladesh here on Thursday. The 2011 World Cup winner will be playing his 300th ODI and the left-handed all-rounder said he is a “proud man.”

“It’s a big achievement for me to face 300 games. When I started playing for India, I was just happy playing one game but it’s come a long way. At one stage, I wasn’t sure if I would play again, but yes, it’s been quite a journey.”

Skipper Virat Kohli paid tribute to Yuvraj Singh, whose batting form in the Champions Trophy has been crucial to India’s journey so far. “He is a total match-winner and 300 matches are testimony to his talent...hopefully he play a lot more.”

Thirty-five-year-old Yuvraj will become the fifth Indian to play 300 ODIs and the 19th international cricketer to reach this milestone and Yuvraj is in no hurry to give up.

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“The biggest quality in me is never to give up. To keep pushing in life and never backing down have helped me come to where I am. I am lucky that I survived and playing for India. I am in a good zone and don’t want to talk about the regrets.”

“I am blessed to be playing for India again. As long as I am performing, I will like to play for India ... hopefully a few more years.”

“Cricket has changed at a rapid pace, playing for India is not that difficult but to sustain that is tough,” said a philosophical Yuvraj Singh, who has scored 8,622 ODI runs laced with 14 centuries and 52 fifties.

Yuvraj said modern ODI cricketers were smart and knew what they were doing but the process of working hard hasn’t changed. He said IPL has been a great boon and that has produced a slew of international players for India.

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Yuvraj said the 2011 World Cup quarterfinal against Australia, his debut game against Australia (in the 2000 Champions Trophy in Nairobi where he scored 84) and the NatWest Trophy final against England on July 13, 2002 (Yuvraj scored 69) were his most memorable matches.

Yuvraj said he would like to portray himself as a fighter.

“Lot of people have been inspired by me not to give up. Cancer is a stigma and I try and motivate a lot of people to come out of it.”

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“I never gave up. I played three years of Ranji Trophy and that helped. As you grow older, you have to work harder. That’s what I have learnt from my seniors and that’s why I have sustained for so many years.”

The interaction with Yuvraj ended on a slightly sour note.

“Players must stay away from the media if they want to do well,” said Yuvraj, leaving reporters stumped by a comment that didn’t quite sum up the occasion.

First Published: Jun 14, 2017 19:52 IST

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