Yuvraj Singh turns the clock backwards with four sixes in four balls – Road Safety World Series – Cricket

It is nearly 14 years since Yuvraj Singh stepped on to the pitch at the Kingsmead Stadium in Durban and produced perhaps one of the greatest displays of power-hitting cricket will ever see. On September 19, 2007, he was 26, fiercely talented but fairly untested in the Twenty20 format. He was facing up to Stuart Broad, the 21-year-old English fast bowler, in the first-ever Twenty20 World Cup.

And by the time Yuvraj got done with Broad, he had struck six sixes in an over and given the tournament its most flamboyant moment. In making the outrageous appear effortless, Yuvraj became India’s go-to gunslinger, with a luminous, transcendent talent that would script the parable of modern-day cricket. In another four years, Yuvraj was adjudged Player of the Tournament for his all-round contribution to India’s World Cup triumph in 2011.

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But if ever there was a moment that encapsulated his genius, Yuvraj’s six sixes was surely it. It was a simple snapshot which, at face value, showcased the southpaw’s audacity and the opposition’s utter terror at the prospect of facing him that night. But dig deeper and you’ll find that the windswept romance it espoused, turned an innings that lasted a mere 16 deliveries into an epochal moment in sporting history you’ll never forget.

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So when last week, Yuvraj, of India Legends, hit a Zander de Bruyn – of South Africa Legends – over for four consecutive sixes, it provided an instant reminder of just how much those six maximums have been stitched into the fabric of Indian cricket.

In Raipur, after two sixes, fans were ecstatic; after four, hope lit up the sea of faces. But by the time the over was completed – the last ball was a dot – there was perhaps a collective sigh. One could sense the palpable mixture of yearning and pride. “Not bad I guess. Peak time, it was 6 out of 6 and now it is 4 out of 4, will take that,” Yuvraj later said.

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This might not be nearly as spectacular as what Yuvraj pulled off that night in Durban, and there was a hint of luck involved here since he was dropped just two overs prior. But Yuvraj’s bat speed remains frightening; his backlift, captivating: it’s as if he has paused the ball in its trajectory, picked his spot, then pressed resume and executed the shot with a follow-through that still leaves viewers and opposition feeling awestruck. His inevitable temptation to scale the heights of his legend resurfaces on nights like these.

Yuvraj, now 39, continues to give glimpses of the virtuoso he once was; his precision, his command, now tempered by time and age. The mishits and the series of plays-and-misses seem a little jarring when viewed through the prism of his halcyon days, but the next time a ball leaves an elegant arc from Yuvraj’s bat and into the stands, memories of Durban ‘07 will come alive again.

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