Yuvraj Singh recalled his initial days as an Indian cricketer and when he was blown away by the presence of the legendary Sachin Tendulkar. Tendulkar, who was Yuvraj’s idol growing up had already become the best batsman and a legend of the game when the left-hander made his India debut during the ICC Knockout Trophy in the year 2000.
Yuvraj, who was coming off India’s victorious Under-19 World Cup campaign earlier that year was making his India debut along with Zaheer Khan. In his first meeting with the iconic batsman, Yuvraj revealed how he was overwhelmed by Tendulkar’s presence and rubbed his hands all over his body after shaking hands with the India great.
Also read: Former India batting coach predicts future skipper of CSK
“In 2000, I made my debut for India. I just went with the flow and After Playing for U-19, suddenly I was playing with my heroes. Tendulkar, Ganguly, Dravid, Anil Kumble, Srinath – big players in the team and suddenly I was like ‘where am I,” Yuvraj said in a video uploaded by Netflix titled ‘Stories Behind the Story.’
“I was a backbencher in my class, I was a backbencher in the bus. The moment he came in, he came and shook hands with me, Zaheer Khan, Vijay Dahiya, the new guys. I remember when he turned back and went back to his seat, I rubbed my hand all over my body. I just didn’t want to take a shower because I shook hands with Tendulkar.”
Yuvraj called Tendulkar the Michael Jordan of Indian cricket, drawing comparisons between arguably the best batsman of all time and the NBA legend, highlighting how they always the right motivational tools to bring the best out of each other.
“He’s someone who had that weight on him for India to always win. And every time you would watch him, if Tendulkar got out, India would fall most of the time. When things are not going well, you always look for advice, for a senior to guide you. I have seen his demeanour over the years and how he presented himself off the field, so I had a relationship where I could talk about life,” Yuvraj recalled.
Also read: ‘People don’t understand injuries, that is why talk rubbish’: Sourav Ganguly
“When I was dealing with my illness, my injuries, I spoke to him about and I said ‘I’m really struggling with my performances and I’m working very hard’, he said to me ‘Every time when a storm is about to come, the sea goes silent. You will matter when it matters the most.’”
Yuvraj revealed how the entire team had worked hard to win the 2011 World Cup for Tendulkar who had failed to win the title in his first five attempts. Tendulkar made his World Cup debut in 1992 and went on to represent India in the 1999, 1999, 2003 and 2007 editions. In 1996, India finished semi-finalists and finalists in 2003. Tendulkar holds the record for the most runs in World Cup history with 2278 runs and capped off his World Cup career by winning the trophy in 2011.
“The 2011 was his last World Cup and he knew that. He was carrying the weight of Indian cricket on his shoulders for almost 22 years and we wanted to give him a very satisfactory career where at the end he had that World Cup which was always a desire. It was more of a team effort that we actually wanted to do it for Sachin,” Yuvraj said.