Yuvraj Singh, the prince of Indian National Cricket Team, was the second guest on Zing Game On hosted by Karan Wahi. India’s enigmatic all-rounder Yuvraj announced his retirement from all forms of cricket, drawing the curtains on his 19-year-long international career last year in June. However, in a nearly two-decade-long inning, Yuvraj has smashed international records and secured a permanent place in the hearts of millions for being one of the best the Indian team has ever seen! During his life between 22 yards, Yuvraj grew up idolizing Sachin Tendulkar and wore jersey number 12.
Asked about the reason behind choosing no. 12, Yuvraj answered, “I was born on the date 12, in the 12th month December, 12 sector PGI, at 12 pm in the afternoon and I think even the ward number was 12. I was the team’s 12th man for a long time, so 12 number has stayed with me. My Masi would call me Bara Singha!”
Recalling a sweet memory of his first meeting with the ‘God of Cricket’ Tendulkar, Yuvraj shared, “In 2000, Vijay Dahiya and I were a part of the camp for the selection of Champion’s Trophy. My performance in the Under-19 was good so I got an opportunity. Vijay and I were seated at the back of the bus. All great players boarded the bus including Sourav Ganguly, Sachin Tendulkar. Sachin came and shook hands with us. As soon as he left, Vijay and I rubbed the hand all over our body because Sachin shook hand with us. I was a back-bencher in school and on the bus too. Later, when we got down, there was only one seat empty beside Sachin Tendulkar. I told our manager Anshuman Gaikwad that, ‘Sir I can’t sit beside him, I am very nervous.’ He responded saying, ‘No, beta, he will be your teammate, you have to talk to him.’ I went and sat beside Sachin. He was opening his kit, removing pads and other things. I opened my kit bag too. As soon as I did, I had a photo of Sachin in my kit bag since he has been my idol. Sachin saw the photo and asks he, ‘Kaun hai ye?‘ We had a fun banter, he sensed that I was nervous and tried to make me feel comfortable.”
He further added, “Later, coach said Sachin and Yuvraj will bat in the same net. I was thinking to myself that it is such a great day, I shook hands with him, I was practicing with the idol whose photo I have been carrying in my kit. I was watching everything around, it was such an amazing feeling. And now that I am friends with Sachin, it is all the more amazing. As a kid, I used to place bets with my father on how Sachin would perform in a match. By the time I became a part of the Indian National Cricket Team, Sachin was just 27 and already was called a legend. It was fascinating but I can’t explain that feeling to be in the Indian team and association with him. I am sure today’s generation would compare the feeling with Virat, but it cannot be explained in words what you feel when you play with a legend.”
Yuvraj also revealed a funny incident when the Bengal Tiger of the Indian team, former skipper Sourav Ganguly, ran behind him and Harbhajan Singh with a bat in his hand to beat them. Explaining the exchange of pranks, Yuvi shared, “The first time when I was included in the team, Dada (Sourav Ganguly) wronged me. Our first match was against Kenya. I didn’t get to play. The second one was in Australia. Dada comes to my room at night and says, ‘Tu kal open karega?’ Hum bhi jasbaati launde the, maine kaha haan Bhaiya, open kar lenge kya hogya. He said, ‘Theek hai, tu kal shayad open karega.’ Raatko mujhe neend nahi aayi, ki kaise open karenge, World Champions, unka attack comprised of Brett Lee, Jason Gillespe, Glen McGrath. Open toh Dada karte the! Ground me pohcha dusre din ki open karna hai. Dada tells me, ‘Main mazak kar raha tha re. Open main he karunga.’ I was like what kind of Captain he is, it is my first international match and Dada pranked me. Uss din tukka lagg gaya, I don’t know how I scored 84.”
“Cut to 2004, India vs Pakistan, very tensed environment. The next day was 1 April, Harbhajan and I made a plan to prank Dada. We made a fake newspaper wherein Sourav has given statements like, ‘Yuvraj is not serious about his game,’ ‘Bhajji doesn’t support,’ ‘Rahul Dravid is against Sourav Ganguly.’ We told senior players Rahul Dravid and Sachin Tendulkar that we are fooling him. Next day, Bhajji went to Dada and showed him the paper saying we won’t play because you have said such things. Dada was red with anger. He was like, ‘If I have said these things, I will resign, I am going to the media right now.’ He got so mad that we told him it was an April Fool’s prank. He ran after Bhajji and me with a bat. Then I was like, ‘Dada yaad aaya kuch?’,” said Yuvraj.
In the latter segment, we saw singer, YouTube sensation Darshan Raval join Yuvraj on the show. Darshan is a huge fan of the former cricketer! He as Yuvraj to name the Aamir, Salman and Shah Rukh of the Indian cricket team. The handsome sports star replied, “On the field, Aamir Khan is MS Dhoni, Shikhar Dhawan is like Salman Khan as he is dashing and flamboyant, I’d say Rohit Sharma and Shah Rukh Khan have similar personalities. Rohit doesn’t shy away from expressing himself but is also the king of the castle.”
Watch the full episode featuring Yuvraj Singh on Game On here:
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