Since his retirement last year, former Indian cricketer Yuvraj Singh has made a series of statements about the current Indian team that have ranged from the captains he played under to a lack of role models.
Yuvraj had retired after failing to make the 2019 World Cup squad and soon after fired the first salvo following the team’s exit from the tournament.
The number 4 problem: Speaking about India’s performance at the World Cup, Yuvraj said several times that the middle order had let the team down in the tournament.
“More than being disappointed about me not being there, how they dealt with the Number 4 problem was disappointing,” he said at an Aaj Tak event held the week following India’s exit.
“The team management should have groomed someone. If someone was failing at No. 4, the team management should have told that player that he was going to play the World Cup… It was disappointing to watch what they did with Rayudu. He was in the contention for the World Cup. He got runs in New Zealand but after three or four bad innings, he got dropped.” he told TOI on July 14.
So on September 6, when Harbhajan Singh said on Twitter that Sanju Samson could be the answer to India’s Number 4 problem, following a 48-ball 91 for India ‘A’, Yuvraj replied: “Top order is very strong bro they don’t need no. 4 batsman.”
Lack of support from captains: On March 31 this year, Yuvraj said that he did not receive much support in his later days with the national team.
“I have played under Sourav (Ganguly) and had a lot of support from him. Then Mahi (MS Dhoni) took over. It’s a difficult choice to make between Sourav and Mahi. I have more memories of time under Sourav because of the support he gave me. I didn’t have that kind of support from Mahi and Virat (Kohli),” Yuvraj told Sportstar.
Incidentally in 2019, he’d said that Dhoni “brings out the best in teammates”. In 2015, when father Yograj Singh had said Dhoni had ‘destroyed’ his son’s career, Yuvraj had distanced himself from it.
“Iv got nothing to do with statements coming out in the media ! As iv said before enjoyed playing under dhoni no issues at all,” he had tweeted.
Then on April 2, when Ravi Shastri shared a video of India’s 2011 World Cup final victory, tagging Sachin Tendulkar and Virat Kohli, Yuvraj commented: “Thanks senior ! U can tag me and mahi also we were also part of it.” Shastri brushed it off responding that Yuvraj was a legend.
Lack of role models: On April 7, Yuvraj said there is a lack of role models in the current Indian team and that the culture of respecting senior players from his time does not exist anymore.
“I just feel there are very fewer guys to look up to and I feel that a sense of respect towards seniors, that has become a thin line now. Koi bhi kisi ko kuch bhi keh deta hain (anyone can say anything to anyone),” said Yuvraj in an Instagram live chat with Rohit Sharma.
Speaking about what happened with KL Rahul and Hardik Pandya, Yuvraj said, “We could not even think of it because we have so much of respect for our seniors. We knew that our seniors would tell us not do such things.”
“These boys do what they want to, after a little success, actually it’s not their fault also as IPL contracts give them so much of money even without playing for India. They get distracted and just don’t know how to handle that money,” he said.
Raina’s place in 2007 T20 World Cup team: On April 19, Yuvraj revealed that Suresh Raina made it into the Indian team for the T20 World Cup in 2007 because he was Dhoni’s ‘favourite player’.
“Suresh Raina had a larger support then because MS used to back him. Every captain has a favourite player and I think Mahi really backed Raina at that time. Yusuf Pathan was also performing well at that time and even I was doing well and was also picking wickets. And Raina was not in a good touch then,” he said on Aaj Tak.
On April 20, Yuvraj said he will not take up a commentary role because he cannot ‘tolerate’ some people he would have to share the commentary box with. He told Mohammad Kaif on an Instagram Live video: “You can get along with people. I can’t tolerate some people in commentary box.”
“I don’t like criticising young players . I have been in that place how it feels when people talk about you. This is why I don’t want to be a commentator,” he had explained.