After succumbing to the fact that a return to the national team might be difficult from here on, India's 2007 T20 and 2011 World Cup hero Yuvraj Singh announced his retirement from international cricket on Monday.
A veteran of 304 ODIs, 40 Test matches and 58 T20Is, his 19-year-old career thus came to an end on an uneventful note.
"It is time to say goodbye to move on and walk away. It has been a roller coaster ride and a great story but it has to come to an end," Yuvraj said at a press conference in Mumbai.
"After 25 years, I have decided to move on. Cricket has given me everything and is the reason why I stand here today. I was extremely lucky to play 400 games for India. I could have never imagined it when I first started playing cricket," he added.
The 37-year-old made his international debut in 2000 against Kenya at Nairobi and since then went strength to strength. A Test debut followed against New Zealand at his home ground Mohali in 2003 but he could never nail down a spot in whites for India due to his inconsistency. The southpaw was also an integral part of India's T20 World Cup triumph in South Africa after a horrendous 50-over World Cup in West Indies earlier that year. From smashing six maximums in an over off England's Stuart Broad to 30-ball 70 against Australia in the semi-finals, Yuvraj starred for the Men in Blue as they returned home with their second-ever World Cup trophy.
Few years later, Yuvraj again was the centre of attraction and star for India. 28 years later as India looked to lift their second-ever World Cup trophy and at home, Yuvraj stepped up and how. Battling pain and agony, the all-rounder came up with a complete performance and was announced the man-of-the-tournament for his 362 runs and 15 wickets from 9 games as India beat Sri Lanka in the final at the Wankhede to win their second 50-over World Cup.
But, things took an ugly turn from there and following his battle against cancer, a return to the top of his game became increasingly difficult.
"It was a love-hate relationship with this game. I can't explain what it really means to me. This game taught me to fight. I have failed more times than I succeeded and I will never give up," he said. "I was not going to let that disease defeat me," he added.
The rise of Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane and others also didn't help his cause as he was sidelined from the national set-up. Yuvraj's stock was still high in the IPL as he returned as the most expensive buy in the auction twice but failure to grab the pushed him further down the pecking order.
However, he did make some comebacks here and there and scored a fighting 150 against England in 2017 at Cuttack but like the last few years, he failed to carry on from there and misfired more often than not and thus played his last international game for India on June 30, 2017, against West Indies at North Sound, where he scored 39 off 55 balls.
And after that, a return to the national set-up grew bleak with every passing day and almost two years after his last international game, he finally hung up his boots with a glittering career to look back at.
ODIs has been his most successful format with him scoring 8701 runs at an average of 36.55. He has smashed 14 centuries and 52 fifties in the 278 innings he has played. In T20Is, Yuvraj has registered 1177 runs at a disappointing average of 28.02 with 77 not out being his highest. Meanwhile, Test cricket remains the most underwhelming for a man of his talents as he could only manage 1900 runs from 62 innings at an average of 33.92 with a highest of 169.
However, his cricketing form had been on the wane for a while. Yuvraj last played for India in a T20I against England in 2017. His last Test appearance was back in 2012. He turned up for Mumbai Indians in this year's IPL but didn't get many chances.
Yuvraj's international career might not have come to a happy end but it has been a career that he and many Indians would look back upon and smile at because of the immense contribution over the years and the fighting spirit he brought into the team at a team when the Indian team was going through a transition.