The ICC Champions Trophy's second semi-final between India and Bangladesh in Birmingham on Thursday will be the 300th One-day international match for Indian batsman Yuvraj Singh. Until now, only Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid have been able to play more than 300 ODIs.
The Punjab southpaw made his international debut in an ODI against Kenya during the 2000 ICC KnockOut Trophy, which is currently known as the ICC Champions Trophy. Although he didn’t get a chance to bat in that game, he scored a majestic 84 runs off 80 balls in the next match to help knock Australia out of the tournament to announce his arrival in style. A topsy-turvy ride followed, but his ODI career flourished along the way. He was the central figure in India’s World Cup winning side in 2011 scoring 362 runs at an average of 90.50 and took 15 wickets which helped him become the Player of the Tournament.
With history beckoning on Yuvraj's door, Indian skipper Virat Kohli heaped praise on the veteran in his pre-match conference in London ahead of India’s virtual quarter-final against South Africa saying Yuvraj has achieved impressive heights in his career so far.
Kohli said, “300 ODIs is a magnificent achievement. Obviously, you have to be super-skilled and super-talented to be able to play that many games for the country. No one has ever had any doubts over the ability that he possesses to win games for his country and he has done it in big tournaments. Tomorrow is a big game as well, so we might just be able to use that as an extra motivation for him to make a mark on the cricketing world in his 300th game.”
“He has achieved tremendous things. Two ‘Man of the Tournament’ awards in World Cups, (and) India winning both, (definitely) is a special achievement. Personally, in his life, he has fought (even) bigger battles. That is a proof of the character that he possesses and the temperament that he has. I wish him all the best for tomorrow and many more games that he will play for India. Hopefully tomorrow he can this game into a special game for us,” the 28-year-old added.
After Yuvraj, MS Dhoni, who has already played 289 ODIs for India, in all probability, will be the next cricketer to join the elite list of Tendulkar, Ganguly, and Dravid.