Yuvraj Singh’s Retirement Speech

Yuraj Singh India Debut“I’d like to extend a very warm welcome to my friends from the media, my family, friends and fans from all across the world who are going to be part of what is a very difficult and at the same time a beautiful moment for me. I can’t really put it in words but I will try. After 25 years, and in around 22 yards and almost 17 years of international cricket on and off, I have decided to move on. Thank you for taking the time out to be here and to support me.

Cricket has given me everything I have and is the reason why I stand here today. It was a love – hate relationship with the sport. In retrospect, I don’t think I hated this game because the love I have for it today which will remain constant until the end of life. I can’t really explain it in words what is that feeling, this game taught me how to fight, how to fall, to dust myself off, to get up again and move forward.

I have failed more times than I have succeeded but I never gave up and will never give up till my last breath, and that’s what cricket has taught me. I gave my blood and sweat to the game, once I got onto it, especially when it came to representing my country.

Since my childhood, I always tried to fulfil my father’s dream to play for India and win the World Cup, and I can say I was lucky to have achieved it. I am thankful every day to the Almighty, both my Gurujis Late Santh Baba Ajit Singh Ji, Santh Baba Ram Singh Ji, and my Mother and my Father who guided me on the right path through this entire journey. I’m hoping that each day one of you who matter in my life are proud of what I have achieved on and off the field. To my true fans who have always supported me endlessly, I can’t thank you enough specially when the times were tough.

As I go back in times today, my life has been like a roller coaster ride. Winning the 2011 World Cup, being man of the series, four Man of the Match awards was all like a dream, which was followed by a harsh reality – getting diagnosed of cancer. It was like touching the sky and then falling down at light speed and hitting the ground hard. As all this happened so quickly and that too when I was at the peak of my career. But in that moment, everyone I knew, to whom I mattered, stood together for me; my fans, my friends and family. Thank you to both my Doctors – Dr Nitesh Rohatgi who took me for treatment to Dr. Lawrence H. Einhorn in US who also treated Lance Armstong.

This brings to my next focus in life, which is to help Cancer patients through my foundation YouWeCan. At YouWeCan we spread awareness about cancer and help the underprivileged by conducting screening camps, funding their treatments and sponsoring education to the underprivileged cancer kids. We have also started our own merchandising arm YWC for the foundation to help generate funds for the cause. I really want to make a difference to the society by setting example through my inspiring story.

On a lighter note, I would say I am extremely lucky to play 400+ games for India. I would have not imagined doing this when I started my career as a cricketer. Through this journey, some matches that remain in my memory were the 2002 NatWest final, my first test hundred in Lahore in 2004, the 2007 test series in England, of course the six sixes at the 2007 T20 World Cup and then the most memorable was 2011 World Cup finals.

Then probably the my worst day in my career was the 2014 T20 World Cup final against Sri Lanka when I scored 11 off 21 balls. It was so shattering that I felt my career was over, and I was written off by everyone to an extent that it made me feel at times that it’s all over.

Then I took a bit of time and that’s when I realised why I play cricket – its because I love the game. So I went back to basics, and scored heavily in domestic cricket and about a year and a half later I made by comeback in T20 for India where I hit a six and a four off the last over against Australia in Sydney and suddenly all the belief came right back.

I was still in and out of the team while after scoring almost 700 runs in 5 games in domestic cricket. I finally made a comeback in one day cricket after three years. In Cuttack, on 18th January against England in 2017, I recorded my highest one-day score of 150 in 127 balls, when everybody said it was impossible. Trust me, I never stopped believing in myself, no matter what the world said. Believe in yourself because if you put your heart and soul into it, you can achieve the impossible.

Cricket has given me some great friends and seniors. I started my career under Sourav Ganguly’s captaincy and got an opportunity to play with my idol the great Sachin Tendulkar, and other legends like Anil Kumble, VVS Laxman, Rahul Dravid & Javagal Srinath, my close friends who I grew up with playing for India who also went on to becoming great match winners for the country such as Zak, Gauti, Veeru, Ashu and Bhajju. I made some great friends and not such great friends playing for so many years. This is the same batch that created history and went on to win the World Cup under the great captaincy of M. S. Dhoni and exceptional coaching of Gary Kirsten, probably the best international coach I played under.

I would like to thank the selectors and Sourav Ganguly who picked me and gave me an opportunity to play for India in 2000, selectors such as Mr Chandu Borde, T. A. Sekhar and others. I would also like to thank all my sports staff who made it possible for my body to last this long specially Nitin Patel and Ashish Kaushik. I would also like to thank national team coaches, various IPL team owners, staff, ground staff, anyone and everyone who helped me focus on my cricket by taking care of other things around it.

I played with some great teams like Pakistan winning and losing in 2004, 2006 & 2007, with Australia – losing to them in 2003 World Cup finals and beating them in 2007 World Cup T20 semi-finals and again beating them in 2011 quarter finals of the World Cup. These were some epic battles and I’ll always cherish these memories for rest of my life.

The adrenaline rush playing for India, singing the national anthem before each game, touching the Indian flag, stopping every run for the team or scoring every run for the team was a completely different high. To be a part of the history that was made after 28 years, I mean honestly what more could I ask for.

Last and most importantly, I would like to thank my family, my mother who is present here today; my loving mother who has been the pillar of strength and I feel has given me birth twice, my loving wife Hazel who stood by me in my tough times, my close friends who get sick of me but are always there for me, everybody who I love is here today except my dad thank me my friends in media (laughs) that he is not here today and just his message.

I think it’s a perfect day to move on.

And last I’d like to thank my well-wishers in media for capturing this lovely journey. I hope you’ll be there for me in my next journey as well. And a very special thank you to the entire team of Endemol for putting this film together and the entire team of Wizcraft for putting this on ground event together.

Thank You once again. This has been a lovely journey! See you on the other side.”

Yuvraj Singh