Yuvraj Singh’s debut in ICC Champions Trophy was special: Sachin Tendulkar

Sachin Tendulkar has recalled Yuvraj Singh’s debut knock against Australia in the 2000 Champions Trophy as the left-hander prepares to play his 300th ODI.

icc champions trophy 2017 Updated: Jun 15, 2017 13:56 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
Champions Trophy 2017,ICC Champions Trophy 2017,Yuvraj Singh
Yuvraj Singh is set to play his 300th ODI during the ICC Champions Trophy 2017 semi-final against Bangladesh in Edgbaston.(Getty Images)

Yuvraj Singh and the ICC Champions Trophy have a special bond. In 2000, the 19-year-old dasher announced himself on the world stage with a magnificent 84 against Australia to give India a famous win. Now, 17 years later, Yuvraj is all set to take part in yet another memorable encounter as the defending champions lock horns with Bangladesh in the second semifinal of the ongoing ICC Champions Trophy 2017.

Apart from a potential clash with Pakistan in the final, the semifinal marks yet another landmark for the stylish left-handed batsman as he plays his 300th ODI. He’s played some prolific knocks over the years at home and abroad and has built an unmatched persona in the Indian dressing room. Several team-mates have taken to Twitter to congratulate India’s best match-winner.

Batting legend Sachin Tendulkar also took a walk down memory lane as he recalled a few memorable knocks of Yuvraj. In a video uploaded by the International Cricket Council recently, Tendulkar focused on Yuvi’s debut knock against Australia.

“That was a special innings by Yuvraj Singh. On that day I remember it was overcast conditions and we decided to bat against Australia and we went after their opening bowlers and got off to a good start and Yuvraj Singh took over,” Tendulkar added. “That was a big game as Australia dominated at that stage you know… They were miles ahead of everyone else. To beat Australia required a mega performance and it wasn’t in a 50-over match you bat well and then the rest of the 50 overs had to be taken care of… You had to bowl equally well.”

India reached the finals in the second edition but lost to New Zealand in Kenya. Yuvraj Singh had made his debut in the pre-quarterfinals against Kenya, but didn’t get a chance to bat. That opportunity came only against Australia in the next game and Yuvraj Singh took the world by storm with a man-of-the-match performance. His batting as well as fielding skills had been exceptional and India had knocked out the then world champions by 20 runs to reach the semis.

Tendulkar, who has also played several memorable knocks in the Champions Trophy, including his magnificent 134 against Australia in the inaugural edition, added that the tournament offered something new to the cricketing world. The right-hander fondly recalled of his epic all-round show against the Aussies.

“The first time we played was in Bangladesh in 1998. You didn’t know what to expect right… It was the first time that the Champions Trophy was being played but before that it was always the World Cup. And this was like a mini World Cup!” Tendulkar said of the inaugural edition of the tournament. Although Bangladesh didn’t participate, the tournament was held in the South Asian country to promote the sport. “In the game against Australia, where I scored a 134 and took four wickets, they were actually chasing well but I got the lengths right. Most of my leg-spins would end up as full-tosses but as I joked with my teammates, I got the permission to land that day. That was a big game.”

The former India captain also lauded his opponents, a side that boasted of the likes of Ricky Ponting, Shane Warne, Glenn McGrath to name a few. Australia had won three consecutive World Cups between 1999 and 2007. “They had an all-round team, they had world beaters. So, overall one had to play good quality cricket in order to beat them,” he added. “It’s like playing Roger Federer. You have to play well in all five sets in order to beat him. There have been a number of tournaments I’ve been part of but there are certain games which always stay with you and these ones I would say stayed with me.”

First Published: Jun 15, 2017 13:11 IST