When Yuvraj Singh steps onto the pitch against Afghanistan on September 18, 2012, he will complete one of the most remarkable comebacks the cricketing and sporting world in general will have seen. Perhaps fittingly, it will also be a World Cup, just like his previous tournament for India.
Just a year earlier, on an operating table, getting treated for lung cancer, it would have been hard for Yuvraj himself to even think about getting back onto a cricket ground. Diagnosed with a rare tumor between his lung and heart, few would have disagreed with him.
But his comments throughout the worrying period showed the world he was not about to give up easily. He made it clear he would draw inspiration from Lance Armstrong, who survived cancer and later won 7 Tour De France titles. His fighting spirit got him through the often traumatic chemotherapy treatment.
By Yuvraj’s own admission, the symptoms of cancer first showed during the 2011 World Cup itself. It is a mark of his strength and his passion and also his determination to not let down a billion fans that he continued to play the tournament. He did not just play but excelled enough to be named the Player of the Tournament, leading India to an historic World Cup win.
In 2009, he had said, “Zindagi ke uttar chadhaav mein jiyo vishwaas ke saath”(Life is full of ups and downs, live through it with confidence). His own actions have proved every word true, almost as though he was predicting his own future.
Almost as remarkable as his recovery is his quick return to international cricket. Yuvraj is not the first cricketer to be diagnosed with cancer of course. The likes of Michael Clarke, Geoffrey Boycott and Dave Callaghan also suffered from various types of cancer during their cricketing careers. But these were one of the few to successfully survive the deadly disease. Many others like Malcolm Marshall, Frank Worrell and Ken Wadsworth succumbed to it too. In such a context, Yuvraj’s triumphant battle against cancer would make any fan even more happy.
Yuvraj’s form was very poor just before the World Cup with many even questioning his value to the team. It is almost like the cancer spurred him on unconsciously, as he went on to score over 350 runs and picked 15 wickets to lead India to the title. As an Indian fan, we can only salute his commitment to the team and wish him more success, in the cricketing ground.