T20 World Cup: Yuvraj Singh, the six sixes man, a right fit as Ambassador

The cancer survivor’s role in India’s 2007 and 2011 triumphs is a stuff of folklore

Former cricketer Yuvraj Singh (IANS Photo)
Former cricketer Yuvraj Singh (IANS Photo)

Gautam Bhattacharyya

Despite being one of India’s biggest matchwinners in white ball cricket in this millennium, Yuvraj Singh has often nursed a few regrets, like never captaining his country or not being given his due for his role in the 2007 and 2011 World Cup triumphs.

The International Cricket Council’s (ICC) gesture of naming him as the Men’s T20 World Cup 2024 Ambassador on Thursday is hence a timely gesture to this end.

The six sixes that ‘Yuvi’ plundered off Stuart Broad in one over in the first World T20 in South Africa in 2007 has long been a stuff of folklore.

Then at the peak of his prowess, he played a key role in M.S. Dhoni & Co. lifting the trophy with an invaluable 70 off 30 balls against Australia in the semis and only four years later, emerged as the Player of the Tournament in India’s triumph in 50-overs ICC World Cup.

After being named as the ambassador after Chris Gayle and Jamaican sprint king Usain Bolt, Yuvraj told the ICC media: ‘’Some of my fondest cricketing memories have come from playing at the T20 World Cup, including hitting six sixes in an over, so it’s very exciting to be part of this edition, which is set to be the biggest one yet.

“The West Indies is a great place to play cricket with the fans coming to watch creating a vibe that is completely unique to that part of the world, while cricket is also expanding in the USA and I’m excited to be part of that growth through the T20 World Cup.

“India’s clash against Pakistan in New York (on June 9) is going to be one of the biggest sporting fixtures in the world this year, so it’s a privilege to be a part of and to witness the best players in the world playing in a new stadium.”

Gautam Gambhir, another hero of India’s 2007 and 2011 triumphs, tried to put Yuvraj’s contribution into perspective in an interview sometime back.

‘’He (Yuvraj) always says that I won the World Cup but I believe that the man who took India to the finals of the 2011 and 2007 World Cups were Yuvraj Singh…But when we talk about the 2007 and 2011 World Cups, we don’t take Yuvraj Singh’s name. Why not?’’ the former opener and now a mentor in IPL was as candid as ever.

It was soon after the 2011 triumph that the dasher was diagnosed with a germ cell tumour in his lungs, but Yuvraj showed a remarkable resilience to beat cancer and return to play in the next World T20 itself in 2012 in Sri Lanka.

He will attend a range of promotional events in the United States in the lead-up to and during the T20 showpiece, including the highly anticipated India-Pakistan fixture. ‘’It’s an honour to have Yuvraj as an ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Ambassador. His name is synonymous with the T20 World Cup owning one of the event’s most iconic moments when he became the first player to hit six sixes in a T20 International,’’ remarked Claire Furlong, ICC General Manager (Marketing & Communications) at the announcement.

The marquee event will kick off with co-hosts USA taking on Canada in the opening fixture at Grand Prairie Stadium in Texas. A total of 55 matches will be played by 20 teams across nine venues, culminating in the final on 29 June in Barbados.

The historic first match at the Nassau County International Cricket Stadium will be played on 3 June between 2014 champions Sri Lanka and South Africa with 10 teams to feature across eight matches in New York.

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