"If you can meet with triumph and disaster, and treat those two impostors just the same...." Rudyard Kipling's poem has a resonance with sportsmen, who try very hard not to pay heed to the emotions surrounding victory and defeat. Sometimes, though, the media and fans don't make this possible, especially if you're an Indian cricketer.
The MS Dhoni-led side arrived back home a day after their six-wicket loss in the World T20 final to Sri Lanka, and on touching down in Mumbai they would have immediately felt the difference between "those two impostors". Rohit Sharma, skipper MS Dhoni and Yuvraj Singh, who were part of the side that had triumphed in the inaugural edition in 2007 and received a tumultuous welcome on a rainy September 26, would have felt it all the more.
On Monday, April 7, nearly seven years later, there was no rain and no celebration as the players boarded flight 9w0975 from Dhaka and landed in Mumbai at 4.05 pm.
There was the usual demand for selfies from fans as the players waited to pick up their coffins and baggage. Shikhar Dhawan was the most sought after. R Ashwin too was quite in demand. Both did their best not to lose their cool, even though a few requests got a bit impertinent.
A few fans rushed to the area where Yuvraj Singh was waiting for his luggage to arrive. Keeping him company was Varun Aaron. The former, who is being villified in the country for having an off day in the final, was surrounded by a group of youngsters with smart phones and tabs. On a day he would have liked to be left alone, Yuvraj was subjected to stifling public scrutiny. Seeing the commotion a couple of cops and security men arrived and instead of stopping the fans from hassling the players, they too joined in the photo-op.
The southpaw, who scored 11 in 21 balls in the final, willingly participated in the melee even though a couple of youngsters standing a few metres away passed a few uncharitable remarks. In the past, Yuvraj has been vocal and even physical against criticism. On Monday though, he didn't pay much heed. It seems he wanted to soak it all in and nurse the hurt.
Back in 2007, Yuvraj's popularity was at an all-time high after his six sixes in an over off Stuart Broad. He danced uninhibitedly to Bollywood numbers, including the inspirational 'Chak De India'. Those moves were done without an umbrella despite rain pounding away on the open top bus.
The Yuvraj that one saw on Monday looked lost and preoccupied. MS Dhoni — who famously said that day in 2007, "Maine suna tha Mumbai shehar kabhi kisi ke liye rukti nahin, lekin aaj meri team ne usko ruka di (I had heard the city of Mumbai didn't stop for anyone, but today my team has stopped it)" — was whisked off immediately. Mumbai didn't stop for him or his boys on Monday.
Earlier at the Hazrat Shah Jalal International airport in Dhaka, Yuvraj walked to the boarding arena all by himself, far behind the rest of his teammates. Rohit Sharma tried to keep him company and even sat next to him in the flight. The Mumbai lad must have said something funny to cheer him up, as that was one of the few times one saw Yuvi's face light up with a smile.
The only other time he smiled was when a respected media personality advised him to tie the knot soon. Yuvi's reply was a classic: "Don't add to my stress."