The Web


Home > Cricket > Kiwis in India 2003 > Report

I breathe through my son: Yograj Singh

Faisal Shariff | October 21, 2003 11:26 IST

The Mohali Test match was very special for Yograj Singh, the man who made his Test debut against New Zealand in 1981 and then never played another Test for India.

Yuvraj SinghTwenty-two years later, his son also earned his maiden Test cap against New Zealand.

Yuvraj Singh managed just 20 in his first Test innings, but those runs mattered much to his father.

In his own words, Yograj expresses what it meant to see his son don the Indian Test cap:

Today was a very emotional day for me. I don't know how many people will understand what I feel. Years ago somebody snatched my right to play for the country. I lived this game all my life and then someone who was afraid that I would take his place in the team snatched it from me. These so-called living legends took the life out of my soul. The hurt they have caused will go with me to my grave.

I have only bad memories of the only Test I ever played. I got [current India coach] John Wright out in my second over with a bouncer. I was fielding at fine leg when John Reid pulled Kapil Dev and the ball flew to me. I tripped over a slight bump near the boundary and the ball hit my left eye. Within five minutes I was bowling with one eye. I bowled ten overs with one eye.

On the third day I tore my neck muscles while doing push-ups and still faced Richard Hadlee with a collar. I was in hospital for two days after that. All I played was a day-and-a-half in that Test match. After that they chucked me out of the team, then the state side, and that was the end of my career.

I was born to my father when he was 72 years old. He was very dear to me and when he died because I was dropped from the team, it broke me.

I had bought a suit and binoculars for my father in New Zealand hoping he would come in that suit to watch me play for India when I played at home. But it didn't happen. I burnt all my bats that day and said that my career has ended. Cricket destroyed my life.

Then God gave me a son in 1981. When he was one year old I thought I would take my revenge. My son is a very talented kid; he was very good at every sport he played, be it skating, tennis, or whatever else.

One day I told him, 'Son, how do you want me to live in this world with the same face if you don't complete my dream? I want you to play cricket for the country and complete my unfulfilled dream.'

Yuvraj realised what I meant. The whole house was changed. I built nets in the backyard, laid a cement pitch, and installed lights. I bought him a new bat every day. There are about 200 bats lying in the house and tons of gloves. I got plastic balls, with which current cricketers practise now, for him.

And then began his training -- six hours on the ground and four hours at home in the nights. People said I had gone mad. They said I was inhuman with my son. I was harsh with him, but not inhuman. But I did not want to miss the train a second time in my life. Yuvraj realised my agony; felt my pain. He knew I was rewriting my destiny through him.

I didn't go to the stadium on Sunday [the fourth day of the second Test]. I will only go the day he becomes a legend like Vivian Richards, Sachin Tendulkar, or Clive Lloyd. I will wear the suit that I bought for my father to the stadium. And I wish all those people who ruined my career are alive.

He [Yuvraj] called me after the match [on Day 4]. He told me he was very disappointed and that he was desperate to make a hundred and help India avoid the follow-on. I told him that the ball that dismissed him was the only good ball [Daryl] Tuffey bowled all day. I think he batted beautifully. Had he stayed on for another hour, the New Zealand bowlers would have been in trouble. What I liked about him was the flag on his helmet. It shows that a man belongs to his country.

Yuvraj's mother is a wonderful person. I thank her for giving me Yuvraj.

My son will be a world champion. I breathe through my son. He keeps me alive!

Article Tools

Email this Article

Printer-Friendly Format

Letter to the Editor

Related Stories

'No harm with home advantage'

Everything to gain, or lose

Not a revenge series: Ganguly

People Who Read This Also Read

Talk less, Akram tells Akhtar

Will Dravid keep in ODI series?

Chopra disappointed with debut

Kiwis in India 2003: The Complete Coverage

Copyright © 2003 India Limited. All Rights Reserved.