On a day when he announced retirement from international cricket, Yuvraj Singh also let out a rather sad secret. The star of India's 2011 World Cup winning team revealed that had he been part of Mumbai Indians' playing XI in the IPL final, he would have ended his cricketing journey with satisfaction.
"Lately, I was neither getting success nor opportunity to play. I had spent so much time on the ground and there were other reasons as well. I was confused about how to end my career. We won this IPL but had I got a chance to be part of the XI, I would have left with satisfaction but one doesn't get everything in life. I started my career in 2000 and it had been 19 years. Last year, I had decided that this year's IPL would be my last outing and I'll give it my best shot," Yuvraj said.
When asked whether he requested BCCI for 'one last match', the Chandigarh-born said he never demanded any retirement game as he does not like to play such cricket.
"I was told if you cannot pass the YOYO Test then you can play a retirement match. Then I replied I don't want a retirement match and if I can't pass the test then I will return home silently. I cleared the test but rest was not my call," he said.
Yuvraj also revealed that it was Sachin Tendulkar who told him the decision to retire should be his own, and not as per the advice given to him.
"Zak (Zaheer Khan), Ashu (Ashish Nehra), Viru (Virender Sehwag), Bhajji (Harbhajan Singh) and Sachin (Tendulkar) Paaji... I have always consulted them moving on. Especially Sachin during this IPL. He told me that it (retirement) has to come from you, it is you who has to decide when to end not the people," the swashbuckling left-handed batsman said.
One of the best players that the cricketing world has seen when it comes to the game's shorter formats, Yuvraj, feels Rishabh Pant has the potential to become better than him as he has proved himself at a very early stage.
"He (Pant) can become attacking and match winning left-hander," the retired cricketer said.
The power-hitting batsman was popular in one-dayers and T20Is but could not make it to the Test format. Yuvraj played 40 Tests and amassed a total of 1900 runs, with a highest score of 169. He scored three centuries and 11 fifties.
"If you look at the whole journey it's been great but unfortunate not to play say another 40 Test matches. I was playing at a time when it was very difficult to get a spot with players like (VVS) Laxman, (Sourav) Ganguly who was the captain, Sachin, Rahul (Dravid), Viru as an opener. It was very hard to find space in the middle order. That time we used to get like one or two Test matches compared to guys who get about 10 to 15 Test matches to play all the time today. So I never really got that spot. Every time I failed, I used to lose that spot. For seven years I guess I sat out for 40 Test matches. When I finally got my spot then I got diagnosed with cancer," the swashbuckling batsman said.
Yuvraj now wants to play in overseas leagues and said at this age he can manage to play some fun cricket and enjoy his life as he has been stressful just thinking about international games and performing in big tournaments like IPL.
"With BCCI's permission, I would love to go, play and have fun for this year or maybe next year. I don't know what's left in me. It has been a very long and hard journey and I think I deserve that. I have had a word with BCCI and will have another after this announcement. Hopefully, it will be easy sailing for me," he signed off.