Sachin will always be very special to me: Yuvraj
Yuvraj Singh is heartbroken. Despite scoring a match-winning 77 against Australia in the one-off T20 at Rajkot on Thursday, he was saddened by the news of Sachin Tendulkar’s retirement.
It is well-known that Yuvraj and Tendulkar are great pals, and the 31-year-old takes inspiration from the Mumbai maestro. Thus, it did not come as a surprise when Yuvraj expressed sadness over the announcement on Thursday.
"I don't think I am going to let him go away. I am going to catch hold of his feet and not (let him) leave the dressing room. It has been amazing to play with him for so many years -- one of the greatest players to have played the game. I don't know what to say," Yuvraj said.
"There are so many things to say about Sachin, probably the best Indian cricketer ever played. He has achieved milestones not only as a cricketer, but a man who is an ambassador of cricket around the world.
"So it is going to be an emotional time for the whole of India. Sachin will always be very special to me. I am sure I will have the opportunity to play with him. I don't know if I will (be selected), but if I am not playing, I will definitely come and watch (his last match)," he added.
Image: Yuvraj Singh with Sachin Tendulkar
Photographs: Marty Melville/Getty Images
'I would want him to play for 10 more years with us'
Yuvraj, who has survived a germ cell cancer, said people should respect Tendulkar's decision.
"It is up to him when he wanted to retire. A player of his stature should decide when he wants to leave. I would want him to play for 10 more years with us. It is his decision and we need to respect that. It will be an emotional time for India when he plays his last match," he said.
Describing the qualities he likes about Tendulkar, the flamboyant left-hander said, "He is a very down-to-earth person. He never showed he is the ‘great Sachin Tendulkar’. He was always trying to reach out to youngsters, although we were a bit reluctant to go out to him.
"Personally, he has always guided me on and off the field about things in my life, especially the World Cup journey. So it has been very special playing with him. I can't really express it in words. It is tough for me to see him go."
Image: Harbhajan Singh (left),Sachin Tendulkar (centre) and Yuvraj Singh
Photographs: Michael Steele/Getty Images
'He always been one or two steps ahead'
He said it would be next to impossible for anybody to fill in the shoes of the 40-year-old retiring batsman.
"The way he hits the ball, the way he is always still. The best batsman I have seen in my career -- technique-wise.
"He has been smart all these years to know what bowlers are going to bowl to him. He's always been one or two steps ahead, and that is why he's been consistent for so many years. To have such consistency over so many years is really tough for any batsman. He is just something amazing.
"He has been a God's gift to India. It is going to be difficult for anybody to replace him as the next Tendulkar," he said.
Image: Sachin Tendulkar
Photographs: Lee Warren / Gallo Images/Getty Images