Reliving the dark side of Indian cricket’s fanaticism, former all-rounder Yuvraj Singh recollected the public’s extreme reaction to his infamous knock in the 2014 T20 World Cup final, where they threw stones at his house.
Three years after becoming the toast of the nation with his starring role in the 2011 World Cup triumph, Yuvraj turned public enemy No.1 when his scratchy 21-ball 11 resulted in India posting a sub-par 130-4 in the T20 World Cup final. Sri Lanka hunted that target down with more than two overs to spare to clinch the trophy.
“I take full responsibility for that day. I didn’t play well,” Yuvraj recalled, speaking to journalist Nikhil Naz on Instagram Live. “A lot of dot balls went by. Lasith Malinga bowled six good yorkers, and neither I nor (MS) Dhoni or (Virat) Kohli could get them away.
“Unfortunately, it was a World Cup final. I see a lot of people scoring 11 off 21 balls in an IPL game, but the scrutiny was a lot. I remember there were comments made on me on my career.
“When I went back home, I felt I was a villain. On reaching the airport, I got attacked by the media who was yelling at me. Stones were thrown at my (Chandigarh) house as well,” Yuvraj said. “I felt like a culprit. It felt like someone shot someone and went to jail.”
The furore followed him from Mirpur to Chandigarh; Yuvraj, Player of the Tournament in the 2011 World Cup, conceded how easy it was for plaudits to turn into criticism.
“In a player’s career, you have won the 2007 T20 World Cup, the 2011 World Cup, you don’t get the credit, but when you lose the World Cup, all the criticism comes on to you,” he said. “Others also couldn’t hit. But having scored 11 off 21, the criticism came on to me. I remember Sachin tweeted later that evening, (urging) media to calm down.
“That day, I put my India cap on the bat with which I hit six sixes, and thought my career was over.”