New Delhi | Jagran Sports Desk: Exactly a year ago, on June 10, 2019, India's 2011 World Cup hero Yuvraj Singh had announced his retirement from all forms of cricket.

“After 25 years in and around the 22 yards and almost 17 years of international cricket on and off, I have decided to move on. This game taught me how to fight, how to fall, to dust off, to get up again and move forward,” Yuvraj had said while announcing his retirement.

Considered as one of the most destructive batsmen in limited overs format, Yuvraj played 19 years of international cricket. He played 40 Tests, 304 ODIs and 58 T20Is for India, putting together 1,900 runs in the longest format, and 8,701 in the one-dayers, the format in which he enjoyed most success.

The Chandigarh-born cricketer captured the imagination of world cricket with his gravity-defying fielding abilities and effortless power-hitting.

He was perhaps the last of the time when a group of young cricketers, with their sheer perseverance, had emerged out of the dark shadows of a match-fixing scandal that had left the India cricket team in tatters in late 1990s. They had built for themselves a moniker that meant more than the words themselves — ‘Men in Blue’.

Big events brought out the best in him - be it his international cricket entry at 2000 ICC Champions Trophy, the mind-numbing batting exhibition at inaugural 2007 World Twenty20, or the all-round performance at 2011 World Cup.

During his career, Yuvraj had shattered the record for the then most expensive Indian Premier League (IPL) player as Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) bought him for a whopping INR 14 crore during the 2014 auction.

And then once again, his price went a notch higher at the 2015 auction as Delhi Daredevils brought the all-rounder for INR 16 crores.

Yuvraj's entry into international cricket made everyone take a notice of his abilities. In just his second ODI, Yuvraj took on the Australian fast bowlers in an exhibition of fearless batting at Nairobi during the 2000 ICC Champions Trophy and it won him the Man of the Match award.

In the longest format of the game, Yuvraj had a special liking for Pakistan as he scored all his three centuries in the format against them - first on a green top in Lahore in 2004, second in Karachi in 2006 and third, his best of 169 in Bengaluru.

His exploits at World T20 in South Africa have remained untouched till date. Yuvraj's willow-wielding ways gave nightmares to almost every bowler through the tournament. Clobbering six sixes in the penultimate over bowled by Englishman Stuart Broad in Kingsmead, Durban against England was a moment not many cricket fans will forget.

That performance against England took Yuvraj on top of the pile of fastest fifties in a T20I match, scoring 50 in just 12 balls, a record that still stands the test of time. As time passed, Yuvraj became an established middle-order lynchpin for the Indian team and a man with a golden arm too.

A testimony of his accomplished all-round abilities was the 2011 World Cup where Yuvraj became the first all-rounder to score over 300 runs and scalp 15 wickets in a single World Cup. The feat included four Man of the Match awards and Man of the Tournament for the 362 runs and 15 wickets.

Fighter to the core, Yuvraj battled all odds to return to the cricket field after successfully treating the rare germ cell tumour. An appearance at the 2014 T20 World Cup finals looked like a perfect script until Yuvraj found the going tough.

"This was probably the most difficult time in my cricket career, the 2014 T20 World Cup final against Sri Lanka when I laboured to 11 off 21 balls. It was so shattering that I felt my career was all but over, everyone wrote me off too. But I never stopped believing in myself," Yuvraj had said while announcing his retirement.

Yuvraj called time on his career after registering 11,778 runs across all three formats of the game and he also managed to scalp 148 wickets.

(With inputs from agencies)

Posted By: Abhinav Gupta