When we talk about the great Indian cricketers of the 1990s and 2000s, the likes of Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Sourav Ganguly, and Anil Kumble are the names that keep popping up. It was always a pleasure for youngsters to share the same dressing room with these legends.
Former Indian all-rounder Yuvraj Singh was among the players who got the opportunity to play with these cricket greats. Yuvraj said that the atmosphere around these players was such that he was hesitant to even sit next to them in the dressing room.
“After 20 years, I still have to be careful about what I say in front of him (Kumble). I think it was a bit of a shock, to be honest. There’s Anil Kumble, Rahul Dravid, Tendulkar, and the likes of Ganguly (in the dressing room),” said Yuvraj at a Viacom18 Sports event in Mumbai for the launch of South Africa’s new franchise league SA20.
‘You had to ask the coach to not be seated next to them’- Yuvraj Singh
Yuvraj believes that youngsters these days feel more comfortable around senior players because of Indian T20 League. But in the 90s or early 2000s, younger players used to be far more afraid of the big stars of the game.
“There are all these guys you’re watching on television as a kid and straightaway, you were in the dressing room with them. You had to ask the coach to not be seated next to them. The coach used to say they’re your teammates so you have to sit next to them. So, it took a while to start talking to them. But what the cash-rich league has done is that the youngsters are now more comfortable around the players,” he said.
On 10 June 2019, Yuvraj announced his retirement from all forms of International cricket. He last represented India in June 2017, against the West Indies. Yuvraj played 304 ODIs and 40 Tests for India, scoring 8701 and 1900 runs respectively after making his debut in October 2000.