They both quit the game within a few months’ gap. Former India opener Gautam Gambhir waited for a few years before hanging up his boots for India last December and decided to take a plunge into politics. Yuvraj Singh, on the other hand, bid goodbye to international cricket this June and has concentrated on playing only in franchise cricket. And now, Gambhir has come out to speak for his one-time teammate urging the Indian cricket board to give a fitting tribute to Yuvraj by retiring his jersey No.12 that he wore while representing India.
Gambhir, now a BJP MP from East Delhi, recently said in his column for the Times of India that September continues to hold a special place in his heart for it was during this month 12 years ago that India had won their first World Cup in seniors’ cricket since Kapil’s Devils accomplished their feat in 1983.
It was on September 24, 2007, that India defeated arch-rivals Pakistan by five runs in the final of the inaugural World Twenty20 under the leadership of Mahendra Singh Dhoni. Gambhir scored 75 in that final off only 54 balls – the highest in the match. Yuvraj, too, had a world-beating moment in the same tournament when he had slammed six sixes in one over in the match against England.
“The month of September, meanwhile, has special emotions for me. It was in this month in 2007 that we won the ICC T20 World Cup. The incredible Yuvraj Singh was in his elements. Just for the performance in that tournament and in the 2011 World Cup, I’d urge BCCI to retire the number 12 jersey that he wore. It will be a fitting tribute to a once-in-a-lifetime cricketer,” Gambhir wrote in his column.
Yuvraj scored 148 runs in five innings at a staggering strike rate of 195 plus. Gambhir himself scored 227 runs in that edition, including three fifties, and ended up as the second-highest run-getter after Australia’s Matthew Hayden. “Overall, our win typified how ‘keeping-it-simple’ works. Perhaps playing the inaugural T20 World Cup worked for us,” Gambhir said.
What Yuvi told Gauti after hitting six sixes in an over?
“We didn’t know what was coming. Hence, rather than worrying about the future we concentrated on the next delivery. I remember asking my dear friend Yuvraj the secret of hitting those six sixes against England. Prince – as I call him fondly – said, “Gauti yaar buss ho gaya (it just happened), I never planned.” What Yuvraj is saying is he kept it simple. He batted with a clear mind,” the cricketer-turned-politician said in his column.
Both the southpaws had a good time together in another World Cup – the 50-over variety – at home in 2011. While Yuvraj ended up as the man of the tournament, Gambhir had a good tournament with the bat and was India’s highest scorer in the final with 97 as the Men in Blue triumphed over Sri Lanka.
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