Yuvraj Singh, who debuted for Punjab Under-16s one month before his 14th birthday in 1995-95, was promoted to the U19 team the following season and made his first-class debut during the 1997–98 Ranji Trophy. He scored 358 runs against Bihar’s first innings score of 357 in the Cooch Behar Trophy Final in 1999, and in 2000, earned the ‘Player of the Tournament’ award in the Under-19 Cricket World Cup.
Thanks to his all-round performance for the U-19 squad, he was called to the Indian squad for the 2000 ICC KnockOut Trophy and made his ODI debut against Kenya on October 3rd, 2000. He bagged the ‘Man of the Match’ award scoring 84 against Australia and scored 41 and took one wicket against South Africa, but was dropped following poor performance in the subsequent Tri Series.
On return, he scored 98-not-out in a match and took 8 wickets in the whole series against Sri Lanka in the 2001 Coca-Cola Cup. He against lost form and was dropped from Indian squad. He went back to domestic cricket and scored 209 in Duleep Trophy in March 2002. He was called to the national team when India was down by 1-2 against Zimbabwe in one-day series and played two match-winning knocks of 80-not-out and 75 in the final two matches.
Following another poor series against West Indies, he showed consistency in the 2002 NatWest Series against England and Sri Lanka, during which he performed both with the bat and the ball. The final against England was particularly important as he scored 69 to put up 121-run partnership with Mohammad Kaif to successfully chase down 326 in one of India's greatest victories in ODI cricket.
In the following games leading up to 2003 ICC Cricket World Cup, he scored a few brisk fifties to script wins for India and scored his maiden century against Bangladesh on April 11, 2003. He was signed by the Yorkshire County Cricket Club in May 2003 and became the second Indian cricketer after Sachin Tendulkar to play for the club.
He made his Test debut against New Zealand on October 16, 2003, but failed to put up good scores in the Test as well the following TVS Cup ODI tri-series. He regained form in the tri-series against Australia and Zimbabwe, scoring 314 runs, and following a disappointing ODI series against Pakistan, he scored his maiden century and half-century in the Test series.
Towards the end of 2004, his form steadily deteriorated in both ODI and Test, but emerged as the leading run-scorer for India in the 2005 Indian Oil Cup triangular series in mid-2005. He continued his good form in the following years, scoring six ODI hundreds and two Test centuries, apart from many fifty-plus knocks that recovered India from poor starts.
In September 2007, he was named the vice-captain of the Indian team for the inaugural ICC World Twenty20 in South Africa, which he made memorable by hitting six sixes in one over of Stuart Broad. He was subsequently named the vice-captain of the ODI team as well, following which he had a good series against Pakistan, scoring four fifties in ODIs and his career best 169 in Test.
His biggest performance came at the 2011 ICC Cricket World Cup, where he scored 362 runs, which included one century and four fifties, and took 15 wickets to earn Player of the Tournament honor. However, he was soon diagnosed with a stage-1 cancerous tumor in the lung and had to go through months of treatment before he could return to the crease in September 2012 for ICC World Twenty20.
He became the highest wicket-taker in the World Twenty20 campaign, but failed to perform with the bat. He also failed to utilize his opportunities in Tests as well as limited-over matches, except for a few fifties, but was called back for 2014 World Twenty20, during which he successfully built several big partnerships.
He was not considered for 2015 Cricket World Cup, but returned to the T20Isquad for India's Australia tour in January, 2016, thanks to his superb show in Vijay Hazare Trophy. With 672 runs in five games in the Ranji Trophy, he was selected for the ODI series against England in January 2017, and bagged the ‘Player of the Match’ award for his career-best 150 runs.