An Open Letter To Champion Yuvi From Sachinist
It was 2000. I had recently turned 15. Like it did to millions of Indian kids, Cricket enthralled me. I still had no understanding of the technicalities of the gentleman’s game. I could still somehow see the divinity in Tendulkar’s batting. I have eidetic memories of Tendulkar stepping out to the likes of Warne, carting them into impunity, even as generations watched, stunned.
Beyond that, I just heard from my Father and Uncle about how another couple of youngsters, Rahul Dravid and Sourav Ganguly were making giant strides, even as another extravagantly talented southpaw, Vinod Kambli, was gradually fading into oblivion, wasting what could have been a glorious career. Kambli got a final rope during the CT2000, which he apparently ended up wasting. All eyes were on him. He was on the edge ; on the brink of being shown the door, permanently.
India were playing against Australia. Sachin Tendulkar made a quick, attractive 37, Ganguly 24. When Dravid fell for 9, in walked an eighteen year old kid who had recently made his debut. At 90/3 against the then invincibles, you would hardly give an eighteen year old a chance. Even as one southpaw was completing his final formalities before departure, the other one ironically announced his arrival that very day, and boy did he do it with unmatched elegance!! His 84 helped India make 269. The rest, as they say, is history.
I metamorphosed from being a teenage Cricket follower to being a fanatic who likes to study the technicalities and the nitty-gritties of the gentleman’s game. It’s then that I actually understood the phenomenal talent Yuvi was!! Yuvraj Singh resembled a magician. The bat, which normally looks like, well, a Cricket Bat, often looked like a magic wand in Yuvraj’s hand. The kind of wand you use to bewitch your audiences, the kind of wand you use to make people drop their jaws, in awe, in utter disbelief! I vividly remember those impeccable flicks. At times, I felt like Yuvraj played with some kind of a cheat code. After meeting the wand, er, the Bat, the Ball would fly miraculously, almost impossibly, for humongous sixes. I have been awestruck ; stunned ; stopped ; made to drop my jaw, all by this immaculate southpaw. On his day, he could make any attack look kindergarten-stuff. He could humiliate even the best.
Along with Kaif, he brought unprecedented energy to India’s fielding. He transformed a dull unit into an electrifying one. He instilled elegance and charisma in the middle order. Before Dhoni happened, he shouldered the responsibility and finished many, many games for the Team. He played defining roles in both World-Cup victories. His six sixes are still the best and will always be the best ever.
Yet, in spite of countless important victories, his greatest victory came after the 2011 WC Win. He beat Cancer. He made a comeback, before which he started YouWeCan, through which he has helped many, many Cancer survivors fight against the dreaded disease! He did show flashes of brilliance after the comeback, yet, you could sense the software that ran the magic all these years was now jaded. I wish, a reboot or a reset could have worked… Anyway… Yuvraj Singh Yuvi, thank you!! You’ve been incredible! You’ve given us, the nation of a billion, countless wonderful memories to cherish. You will always be special. You will always be a legend!! Love. ♥️
Ameya Bhagwat, Sachinist.com