World Cup-winning former India all-rounder Yuvraj Singh has decided to come out of retirement, giving in to a request from the Punjab Cricket Association more than a year after he called it quits. The Player of the Tournament at the 2011 World Cup, Yuvraj had announced his retirement from all forms of cricket last June.
PCA secretary Puneet Bali was the first person to approach the 38-year-old Yuvraj with an offer to come out of retirement for the benefit of Punjab cricket. "Initially, I wasn't sure that I wanted to take up the offer," Yuvraj was quoted as saying by 'Cricbuzz'. "I was done with domestic cricket, though I did want to continue to play in other domestic franchise-based leagues worldwide if I got permission from the BCCI.
"But I also couldn't ignore Mr Bali's request. I gave it a lot of thought, for nearly three or four weeks, and it was almost as if I didn't even have to make a conscious decision in the end." While working with the young Punjab quartet of Shubman Gill, Abhishek Sharma, Prabhsimran Singh and Anmolpreet Singh at the nets in the last few months, Yuvraj rediscovered his love and motivation for the game.
Bali told that the dashing southpaw has written to BCCI president Sourav Ganguly in this regard. "I know he has written a letter to BCCI president Sourav Ganguly wanting to come out of retirement," he revealed. "We want him in the team and the way he mentored four young boys Shubman Gill, Abhishek Sharma, Prabh Simran Singh and Anmolpreet Singh was exceptional. I told him that please give at least one more year of your life to Punjab cricket."
This is another twist to a career that has been punctuated with heroics on the cricket field that saw him win innumerable trophies, player of the tournaments awards, a battle with cancer and a comeback after enduring the ordeal when the world thought Yuvraj was done and dusted with.
Delighted with chatter around his comeback, Bali said, "Punjab cricket needs him. He still has a lot to give as player and mentor. What I know is that he had written to dada two weeks ago. The response must have come by now." Yuvraj's mother Shabnam Singh, a constant pillar of support in his life, said he still retains the passion for the game.
"He is coming back (from Dubai) in a couple of days time and then we are going to have a long chat around all of this. Whatever you are hearing must be true," Shabnam told. On Tuesday, there was buzz that he was eyeing a stint in the Big Bash League and Cricket Australia is trying to help him find a team.
As per BCCI rules, only retired cricketers can play overseas leagues. During his long international career, Yuvraj regaled all with his explosive batting, brilliant fielding and his more than handy left-arm spin bowling. When contacted by, his father Yograj Singh said, "He retired after 20 years of competitive cricket last year and it was his personal decision which I didn't interfere. But even then I felt that he shouldn't have retired."
"He is a giver. In these times, in scorching heat, he trained Shubman, Prabh and Abhishek for five hours each day. The way he hit sixes at the new PCA stadium in Mullanpur, everyone wanted him to come back. If he plays at least three years for Punjab, he will give back at least two world-class players to Indian cricket. So he must play."