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White Knight Rises

 Aritra Mukhopadhyay |  2013-05-05 11:19:16.0  |  0

White Knight Rises

In The Test Of My Life, Yuvraj Singh tells you how he rose from the dead to wield his bat again.

If you have any interest in the game of cricket, cancer diagnosis or simply the story of an exceptional Indian, you will not be disappointed reading The Test Of My Life, the autobiography of cricketer Yuvraj Singh, co-authored by senior sports journalists Sharda Ugra and Nishant Arora.

As the title suggests, the book is not a just summary of cricketing highs and lows of a naturally gifted batsman, it's a story of struggle, denial, acceptance and new struggles ahead, as the authors put it. At 29, Yuvraj's popularity touched dizzying heights after his brilliant all-round performance helped India win the ICC ODI World Cup at home in 2011. However, the southpaw soon understood that his real challenge is not facing fiery pace bowlers on the 22-yard strip, but life.


Sleeplessness, coughing fits and loss of appetite were a few early signs of Yuvraj's sickness, some of which he faced while playing in the World Cup. Then, in January 2012, he was diagnosed with a tumour between his left lung and heart, which has since been termed malignant. Yuvraj's world fell apart when doctors said he was suffering from lung cancer which is in its first stage. On 26 January, Yuvraj began undergoing numerous sessions of chemotherapy at Boston's Cancer Research Institute.

The excruciating treatment made Yuvraj lose energy, appetite, hair and most importantly, his will to survive, as he laments in the book, 'Cancer turns you upside down. In body, in mind, in spirit.'

Yuvraj says he read It's Not About The Bike, the autobiography of now disgraced cyclist and cancer survivor Lance Armstrong. According to Yuvraj, it was Armstrong's book which made him 'want to tell the world what happened to him'.

'If there is one person whom I can help by telling my story, as I was helped by Lance Armstrong's cancer story, I will be very happy. I will feel I did not waste the year of my life that vanished,' he writes.

The fourth and fifth chapters are the most emotional parts of the book.

Chemotherapy and its side effects are known to many people and when Yuvraj explains what he was going through and how he was keeping up with everything, the reader will surely empathise with him. His body had almost given up but Yuvraj’s will power to get back to the cricket field kept him going. Five months down the line, Yuvraj made a comeback after BCCI included him in the squad for the T20 World Cup held in Sri Lanka in September 2012.

Apart from presenting an articulate account of Yuvraj's battle with cancer, the book throws light on the various aspects which molded Yuvraj into one of the most flamboyant batsman of his time. Written in a lucid language, it explains how little Yuvraj, who loved tennis and skating, was forced to play cricket by his father Yograj Singh, a fast bowler who played just one Test for India. Yograj took it as a challenge that his son will have a longer international career after India opener Navjot Singh Sidhu told him Yuvraj 'didn’t have it in him' after watching a young Yuvraj bat at the nets in Patiala.

The book also uncovers the relationship between Yuvraj and his parents and younger brother Zoravar. When Yuvraj was trying to keep up with a life that was all about learning to play cricket with finesse, everything was crumbling between his parents in the backdrop. The sparks flying between his parents, which eventually led to a divorce, badly affected his and his brother’s childhood.

Being sports journalists by profession, the authors have witnessed Yuvraj's career from up close. The writing is well detailed and allows for a good, easy-flowing read. Overall, it presents a very nice picture of the limitlessness of human spirit.
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