The all-rounder defies all odds
When dashing cricketer Yuvraj Singh was diagnosed with a cancerous tumor [Stage-I] in his left lung after a successful 2011 World Cup campaign, the prognosis was not encouraging. With the disease threatening to spread, many gave up hope to see him don the India blue again.
However, going by his instinct of fighting back from seemingly hopeless situations in the cricket field, it was clear that he will ‘never give up when things went wrong’. Yuvraj’s journey to defy all odds began at Boston’s Cancer Research Institute where he underwent three cycles of chemotherapy before finally walking out again on 18 March 2012.
After returning to the familiar surroundings of his home in Gurgaon in April, the all-rounder slowly resumed training under a cloud of uncertainty as the path back to the middle wasn’t easy. But just like pacing his innings as per the situation, Yuvraj toiled hard at Bangalore’s National Cricket Academy [NCA] and finally, on 11 August, the southpaw staged the most-anticipated and documented comebacks in Indian sporting history. Chennai’s M A Chidambaram Stadium erupted in frenzy on Tuesday night as the poster boy of Indian cricket stepped on to the field. Like cycling legend Lance Armstrong, Yuvraj’s journey is a fabulous tribute to the strength of human spirit.
While dope-tainted Armstrong’s comeback from testicular cancer threw a new light on man’s fight against all odds, Simon O’Donnell of Australia and South Africa’s Daryll Cullinan gave the cricket world its own story of battling cancer and achieving full athletic recovery. Though sceptics questioned the speed of Yuvraj’s return to India team, the man himself didn’t show any discomfort while taking the field during the second T20 against New Zealand. He rolled his arms for two overs and later struck a couple of sixes in his trademark effortless style.
If fit, he is an automatic choice in any T20 team in the world. One of the hardest hitters of the cricket ball, his impeccable timing and brute power still make him the most feared batsman around. Yuvraj’s successful comeback has given a special impetus to India’s campaign to reclaim the T20 World Cup. He was instrumental in India’s triumph in 2007 and his six sixes off Stuart Broad and the scintillating knock against Australia in the hard-fought quarterfinal are now parts of cricketing folklore.
Yuvraj brings hope to millions that they too can recover from any disease and lead an active life. He also shows glimpses of the talent that takes a sportsman to a pinnacle.