Former Pakistan all-rounder Shahid Afridi has heaped praises on retired Indian cricketer Yuvraj Singh, saying that the stylish left-hander inspired many with his fighting ability.
"Congratulations on a fantastic career Yuvraj Singh. 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," tweeted Afridi on Monday.
Arguably, one of the greatest players to have donned the blue in white-ball cricket, Yuvraj was diagnosed with mediastinal seminoma, a germ-cell tumour located between his two lungs just after he helped MS Dhoni-led India clinch their second World Cup on home soil.
Yuvraj, now 37, hit four half-centuries and a century, while also picking up 15 wickets -- including a five-for against Ireland -- on his way to the Man of the Tournament award to star for the Men in Blue in the showpiece event in 2011.
The cancer diagnosis was confirmed in February 2012, after which Yuvraj stayed away from the game till December that year, when he made a comeback following treatment.
It was not a memorable comeback for the dashing southpaw, who was more than a handful with his left-arm spin. Yuvraj last turned out in national colours in June 2017 in an ODI during India's tour of the West Indies.
He ended his career with an outstanding ODI record of 8701 runs -- 22nd in the overall list, and seventh among Indians -- at an average of 36.55 and 111 wickets.
In the longest format of the game, Yuvraj was not so effective, scoring three centuries and 11 half-centuries and aggregating 1900 runs, and in T20Is -- where he headlined India's 2007 title-winning effort with a blast of six sixes in a Stuart Broad over -- he ended with 1177 runs and 28 wickets.
Former Pakistan great Shoaib Akhtar also praised Yuvi on a glittering career.
"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.