Two words that were quite generously used to describe Yuvraj Singh, the stylish Punjab-born left-hander, long before anyone had a hint of the battle he was actually fighting.
Yuvraj started his career in International cricket in 2000 and in no time became the star of Indian Cricket team, not only Cricket lovers but whole India knew him, he was never less than any film star . Yuvraj, son of Yograj Singh, former Indian bowler, had cricket in his genes whether it was World Cup or ODI he has always played with passion
2011 saw Yuvraj Singh script two contrasting tales – He hooked, pulled, cut, drove and played out of his skin to torment the opposition during the 2011 World Cup. If his bat didn’t do the talking, he was a match-winner with the ball. There seemed to be no stopping the left-hander and he was Man of the Series as India ended their World Cup drought after 28 long years. But, while his on-field heroics were widely publicized every morning, not too many knew about the struggle he was going through the previous night just to be able to take field.
During the time of World Cup when he would wake up in the middle of the night and would find it difficult to breathe and used to cough immensely. After the world cup, a scan for chest cavity revealed a tumour but like any of us he could not believe it and more than that he ignored it as for him cancer meant leaving cricket, therefore, he kept playing matches, it was only in January when the further tests revealed that tumour was malignant — a germ cell cancer called a mediastinal seminoma was diagnosed, it was located in between his heart and his (left) lung and it grew about 14 centimetres like a ball over his chest which was a concern. And then came the time to face the fears and he chose to face them in 2011.
“There was a time where I couldn’t drink a basic thing like water,” Yuvraj said. “For almost three months during my chemo I couldn’t drink water. My body used to crave it and the moment I used to drink it I would throw up. So coming back from there I know the value of small things like breathing with both the lungs, because for a very long time I didn’t do that.”
Being talented at cricket can prepare you for many of life’s trials but this was on a primal level with survival at stake. When that takes place, old perspectives cannot hope to remain in place as pain signifies both good and bad.
“It was really tough,” Yuvraj said. “After getting the World Cup man-of-the-series I was really confident of taking the next step in my career. But then life had something else stored for me.
“When you hear the word cancer for the first time you really get scared. Cancer. It is like a death sentence. You become really unsure where your life will take you.
“Obviously, it started with a state of panic, though I was more concerned about my family, my mother and my friends as I could see how this affected them. So I had to stop the panic and take control of the situation.
Yes, our hero was inspired by Lance Armstrong who has made many records in his career as well and was also diagnosed with the same kind of tumour in 1996. He was treated with tumour and despite that, he began his career again. Yuvraj Singh has also been treated by the same doctor. During his time in the U.S, he used to read the autobiography of Lance Armstrong for motivation and to get his treatment done perfectly.
But, The hero that he is, Yuvraj fought back to return to the field as he made his comeback in a T20 International against New Zealand in September 2012.
Lesson from Yuvraj
“Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength.”(Arnold Schwarzenegger).