On Monday, Yuvraj brought an end to a stellar international career of almost 17 years.
With a career that spanned over 304 ODIs, 58 T20s and 40 Tests, Yuvraj imprinted his place in the echelons of cricket as a player who could pretty much win matches for his side either through his electric fielding, deceiving bowling or fierce batting.
“A rock-star, a match winner, a great junior and a very good friend of mine, Yuvraj has retired from international cricket. 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,” Akhtar said in his YouTube channel.
“I don’t think India has produced a more elegant batsman than Yuvraj Singh. He used to play very fluently,” he added.
Akhtar also insisted that the 37-year-old will always be remembered for his impeccable performance in the 2011 World Cup and his 6 sixes which he hit in an over in the 2007 World T20.
At the 2011 World Cup which India won beating Sri Lanka in the finals, Yuvraj became the first all-rounder to score 300 plus runs and to take 15 wickets in a single edition of the prestigious quadrennial event. The feat included four Man of the Match awards and Man of the Tournament for the 362 runs and 15 wickets.
And at the 2007 World T20 which India won defeating arch-rivals Pakistan in the summit clash, Yuvraj clobbered 6 sixes in the penultimate over bowled by Englishman Stuart Broad in Kingsmead. That performance against England took Yuvraj on top of the pile of fastest 50s in a T20I match, scoring 50 in just 12 balls, a record that still stands the test of time.
“He was 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 or else he could take the game away,” said Akhtar while praising the stylish Indian left-hander.
“I wish him best of luck for the future. He is a TV product and I know he will do a lot of work on the small screen,” he added.
The former Pakistani speedster also advised Yuvraj to have two kids so that he can play with them.