New Delhi: Former Pakistan pacer Shoaib Akhtar believes Yuvraj Singh is the most elegant left-hander to have played cricket for India a day after the flamboyant all-rounder called time on his international career.
In response, the Indian said Akhtar was the one bowler who terrified him the most in his playing days.
Yuvraj brought the curtains down on a roller-coaster international career, during which he became the hero of India’s 2011 World Cup triumph and fought a gritty battle with cancer.
“A rock-star, a match winner, a great junior and a very good friend of mine,” Akhtar said on his YouTube channel.
“I don’t think India has produced a more elegant left-handed batsman than Yuvraj Singh. He used to play very fluently,” he added.
Yuvraj, on his part, said he was always scared of facing the ‘Rawalpindi Express’.
“Trust me Everytime u ran into bowl at me it was terrifying ! Had to gather a lot of courage to face u. We had some great battles will always cherish those moments @shoaib100mph Shoaib Akhtar’s Special Message,” Yuvraj wrote on his twitter page.
Yuvraj played 40 Tests, 304 ODIs and 58 T20Is for India.
He totalled 1900 runs in the longest format and 8701 in the ODIs, the format in which he enjoyed most success. His one-day runs tally places him 22nd in the overall list, and seventh among Indians.
“I remember for the first time I played against him in 2003 in Centurion during the World Cup where he played a beautiful knock. I went to him and talked to him. I was deeply impressed by his in-depth knowledge of the game,” recalled Akhtar.
Yuvraj, who was adjudged Man of the Tournament in 2011 World Cup, hit four half-centuries and a ton besides picking up 15 wickets, including a five-for against Ireland.
“He will be remembered for years to come for his performance in the 2011 World Cup.” At the 2007 World T20, in a record breaking knock, Yuvraj smashed English bowler Stuart Broad for six maximums in one over.
“His six sixes against Stuart Broad was unbelievable. That was something I have never seen,” Akhtar said.
“He is a great cricketer, a great friend and a very patriotic Indian. He always wanted to win games for India and whenever he used to come to bat lower down the order, we always felt it was important to get him out because he was match winner.
All-rounder Shahid Afridi also paid tribute to the stylish batsman.
“Congratulations on a fantastic career @YUVSTRONG12 You were an amazing batsman and a brilliant fielder with big match temperament. Your fighting ability is very inspiring, we spent great time together. All the very best in your life ahead,” Afridi tweeted.