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Since 1st March, 1999
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Garfield does a Sir Gary
- A Telegraph Special Yuvraj Singh dedicates sixes record to friend who is no more

Calcutta: After being ignored during the Test series in England, Yuvraj Singh came into his own in the ODIs there. However, it’s in the World Twenty20 match against England that Yuvraj exploded like never before — six sixes in as many balls in a Stuart Broad over.

That record-authoring feat also helped the 25-year-old vice-captain to another achievement — the fastest fifty (a mere 12 balls) in Twenty20.

An over-the-moon Yuvraj spoke to The Telegraph from the team hotel in Durban, some hours before Thursday’s face-off with South Africa. A problem with his left elbow, though, kept him out of the XI.

The following are excerpts

On the morning-after

Feels nice… Feels great, in fact… Today, I’ve got two world records against my name… I suppose even equalling the sixes one will require something special…

On whether the team celebrated

Because of the back-to-back matches, we didn’t.

On just when he began aiming for a double hattrick

After the fourth six… Then, when I got the fifth, I decided to take a chance on the last ball… What I’m really happy about is that four of the hits were from the middle of the bat… I used the crease well… Thanks to God and my Guruji’s blessings, it was my day.

On whether, after the match, young Broad had something to tell him

(Laughs) He smiled and I smiled back when we players shook hands… It’s terrible to get hit in that manner… I could appreciate what he must have been going through.

On having been clouted for five sixes by Dimitri Mascarenhas in the infamous last over of the sixth ODI, at the Brit Oval, earlier this month

It’s rightly held that sport is a great leveller… I’d felt horrible then… It’s difficult to explain… Yet, yesterday (Wednesday) I was on top of the world… My experience then and at Kingsmead has reinforced that nobody is bigger than the game… That you’ve got to show respect to the game. To the opposition too.

On his showdown with Andrew Flintoff in the lead-up to his assault on Broad

Well, Flintoff said something he shouldn’t have… I had to respond… Such things happen when you’re competing passionately… I’d hit him for two fours and, so, he could’ve been upset.

On whether Flintoff and he made up after the match

I think he said ‘you began hitting before I could say something (else)’… I told him that no matter what had happened between us, for me, he was the world’s No.1 allrounder… Where I’m concerned, heated exchanges must not be carried off the field.

On having warmed up extensively before taking guard

I needed to as very few overs (3.2 as it turned out) remained… I had to get into action straightaway and couldn’t afford to feel stiff.

On whether he has decided on dedicating his sixes record to somebody

(Emotionally) To my late friend Aman Nat and his parents… Aman, who was an elegant right-hander, and I would practise together in Chandigarh… Whenever I play for India, his parents see Aman in me… So, this record is for them and him… Aman isn’t around, but he remains very special… I think of him when the going is tough, think of him in special moments... You could say I talk to him.

[Yuvraj declined to go into details of how Aman died. “It was in the early Nineties,” is all that he said.]

On father Yograj (who played for India in 1980-81) being a big fan of Sir Garfield Sobers, the first to hit six sixes in six balls in any form of official cricket

Actually, when I was young, Dad would call me ‘Garfield’… For a long time I thought he’d nicknamed me after the cartoon character. It’s only later that he explained the Sir Gary connection and added that his wish was I should bat like the legend…

On whether he has interacted with Sir Gary

No… An opportunity did arise after the 2003 World Cup final, when he was on the podium, but I was in no mood to have a chat… Our defeat had left me crushed.

On whether he spoke to his father after the match

It was very late then, we chatted this morning.

On being appointed vice-captain in ODIs as well

I’ve had that responsibility (in a stand-in capacity) in the past… Additional responsibilities don’t burden me.

Finally, on Twenty20 captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni getting the ODI captaincy too

I’m happy for him… He’s young and will do a good job… I’m there to support him, to make his job easier. I’m sure everybody is going to support him.

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