"You will matter when it matters the most" are the words that Sachin Tendulkar told Yuvraj Singh, which served as an inspiration for the dashing all-rounder during India's World Cup triumph last year.
On the eve of India's first anniversary of the World Cup win, Yuvraj, who is recovering from a rare germ cell cancer, has revealed that Tendulkar had a crucial role to play in his man-of-the-series winning performance during last year's mega-event.
Yuvraj Singh with the World Cup trophy. File Pic/AFP
Yuvraj recalled that he was not in the best of form and fitness coming into the World Cup, but Tendulkar and speedster Zaheer Khan's pep talks motivated him to do something special in the quadrennial event.
"Couldn't have asked for anything better. I didn't expect myself to play as well as I did in the World Cup. I was coming with not great form and I wasn't timing the ball how I wanted to," he said in an interview posted on his twitter account about his thoughts on the World Cup anniversary.
"In my tough times, I just spoke to Sachin about my issues with batting and form and fitness and he told me that you will matter when it matters the most. That is a very special thought, it remains with me.
"I remember I have a picture of me and Tendulkar together which I have put in my locker. I used to have a look at that picture and go into bat. He is my inspiration," Yuvraj said.
"Zaheer Khan also told me in Bangladesh before the World Cup about me doing something special in the World Cup. That time I was going through a bad wrist injury," he added.
As India complete the first anniversary of the World Cup triumph, Yuvraj described the feat as a "cherished and special moment".
MS Dhoni and Sachin Tendulkar celebrate India's World Cup final
win over Sri Lanka at Wankhede Stadium on Saturday. PIC/Getty Images
"All you can remember is flying colours of the flag, Wankhede stadium (the host of the World Cup final) in joy and an Indian dream coming to reality. It was a great moment in history because winning the World Cup was everything to us and especially to do it for Sachin Tendulkar," he recollects in the video.
"It (World Cup triumph) will always be a very special memory for me and all the Indians. It is a cherished memory which we will always keep in our hearts."
Post World Cup, Yuvraj went through the toughest phase of his life after he was diagnosed with cancer. But he is now recovering from the fatal disease after having been discharged from the hospital in Indianapolis, US on March 18 following the completion of the third and final cycle of chemotherapy.
"It (World Cup) did change everybody's life. I didn't expect that I would land up here after the World Cup but that's life," he said.
"I was at the peak of my career when I was diagnosed with cancer, but now I am treated and absolutely fine. I am thankful to my guruji, my mother. It has been a tough journey but I am lucky that the cancer was detected at an early stage and I got cured. Now I just want to live my life like a normal person, just want to celebrate life," he said.
Yuvraj also thanked his fans for standing behind him in such a difficult phase of his life and said he is now raring to return to the ground.
"I can't thank everyone enough for all the prayers and wishes. I have been watching everyone praying across the cities back home for me. The support has been amazing, I couldn't have asked for more. I actually realised how loved I am," he said.
"I just want to tell all that I am good and will be back to normal health soon. I am looking forward to playing for India again."
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