There is no doubt that cricket is the most popular sport in India. With the IPL (Indian Premier League) being one of the most prominent sporting bodies in the world, the sport is responsible for generating over $300 million (or around £241.5 million) each year for the country’s economy.
As such a beloved part of Indian culture, cricket has produced some spectacular sportsmen spanning generations. Among these stars is one of the most recognized names in Indian cricket, Yuvraj Singh, who was born in Chandigarh, the capital of the northern Indian states.
Read on about the incredible career of Yuvraj and learn why he is called the most incredible cricketing son of Chandigarh.
Born December 12, 1981, Yuvraj is the son of Yograj Singh, who played for the national cricket team between 2000 and 2019 but found greater success as an actor. Although Yuvraj showed a propensity towards sports early in life, cricket was not his favourite—he preferred tennis and roller skating.
He was so exceptionally talented at the latter that he won the National Under-14 Roller Skating Championship. However, he was unable to continue pursuing his passion due to his father.
After his championship win, his father threw his medal away and told him he needed to focus exclusively on cricket. Forced to abandon all other sports, Yuvraj began playing cricket soon after.
First joining a cricket team at 13, Yuvraj joined the Punjab under-16s during the 1995-1996 season. His skill in other sports quickly translated to his cricketing ability, and the following season he was promoted to play for the under-19 team as well.
By late 1997, Yuvraj appeared in first-class cricket—though he did not perform the way that many hoped he would and was bowled out without any runs early into the match.
It wasn’t until the 2000 Under-19 Cricket World Cup that his true potential began to shine through. The young player secured the Player of the Tournament award with a spectacular all-rounder performance against countries like Australia and New Zealand.
After his performance and award, Yuvraj was selected for the national team during the first intake the following year. As part of this group, he attended the National Cricket Academy to refine his skill.
During the following season, Yuvraj made his first appearance representing the national team. For anyone who enjoys betting on sports, including cricket, the debut heralded the start of an incredible career across all three formats of cricket (ODI, test, and T20).
Officially playing as a test player from October 2003, the incredible sportsman racked up countless awards and records. Amongst these are international and local records, some of which still stand today.
Some of the most notable achievements Yuvraj accrued are listed below.
- He was selected as the vice-captain of the national One Day International team for two seasons between 2007 and 2008. After this, he returned to being a regular player, never indicating that he sought the team’s captaincy.
- During the 2007 World T20, he hit six sixes in a single over bowled by the incredible English cricket bowler Stuart Broad. At the time, the feat had only been achieved three times in history and never before in a match between two international teams that held test match status.
- In the same match as he hit six sixes, he broke the record for the quickest half-century in not just T20 international games but all of Twenty20 history. This record, which he achieved in just 12 balls, remains the fastest 50 in global cricket history.
- While playing during the 2011 World Cup, Yuvraj was recognized as the first player ever to bowl out five wickets and bat a score of over 50 during the same match of a World Cup tournament.
After his performance in the 2011 World Cup, many people thought that Yuvraj was unstoppable. Unfortunately, he was forced to take a hiatus from his career after being diagnosed with a tumour on his left lung.
Travelling to America to undergo extensive chemotherapy treatment, he returned home in April 2012. Within a few months, he returned to cricket during a T20 match against New Zealand.
However, after his return, many commented that he was not the same player. While he still played exceptionally well, he no longer played the way he had during his prime.
Despite this, he was highly sought after and was bought by the Delhi Daredevils for an incredible ₹16 crore (approximately £1.5 million). It was the second-highest amount paid for any IPL player at the time.
Before this deal was concluded, Yuvraj was presented with the Arjuna Awards for Outstanding Performance in Sports and Games. The award—the second-highest honour available in India—cemented him as one of the best of Chandigarh and the whole country.
After playing in a match against Sri Lanka in 2017, Yuvraj was not selected for any games the Indian team played. Two years later—the same year his father retired—Yuvraj confirmed the reason when he officially announced his retirement from the sport.
Claiming that he was seeking to help aid and serve those living with cancer, the press conference held in Mumbai saw him reliving the best moments of his career and claiming that he would no longer compete in any format of cricket.
While rumours were rife in 2020 that Yuvraj would make a return to T20 cricket, these were quickly dispelled by the Punjab Cricket Association, which denied his return.
Since then, the cricketing star has moved to South Delhi with his wife, British actress and model Hazel Keech. The two welcomed their first child in 2022, and true to his word, Yuvraj has continued to help people battle cancer while enjoying his retirement with his family.