Yuvraj Singh – a winner on and off the pitch
This weekend sees the return to cricket of Indian batsman Yuvraj Singh as India take on New Zealand in two Twenty20 Internationals ahead of the ICC World T20. The first game is in Visakhapatnam on 8th September and the second is in Chennai on 11th September.
Nothing remarkable about that, you might think as players recover from injury and return every day. However, not many do what Yuvraj has done, which is to fight, and beat, cancer, then make his way back to international cricket. It is a story that has echoes in what Lance Armstrong was able to achieve, although Yuvraj has still to write his final on-field chapters.
He was diagnosed with a lung tumour last year – not long after the World Cup final, in fact – and subsequently underwent treatment in America before finally being given the all-clear in March.
Words hardly do justice to the magnitude of what he has undergone and what he will achieve, simply by turning up to the ground along with his team-mates ready to don the blue shirt once again.
He is arguably best known for hitting Stuart Broad for six sixes in one over in 2007 and winning the World Cup last year, but he has had to face up to something far more deadly than a fast bowler or a batsman trying to hit him out of the park.
His illness, and the humility he showed during each phase of it, gave sports fans around the world a sense of perspective. Yes, winning World Cups and blasting the ball hundreds of metres is great, but at the end of the day, there are more pressing things to worry about.
He was cheered royally when he attended a Pune Warriors game in this year’s Indian Premier League and he will doubtless receive a rapturous ovation the next time he walks out to bat. More than perhaps any other cricketer, he deserves it.
Already, cricketers have offered their congratulations to this remarkable competitor:
@yuvstrong12 Hey buddy, good luck tomorrow re being back on the field, very proud of you & your determination..Well done champion…
— Shane Warne (@warne888) September 7, 2012
— Kevin Pietersen (@kevinpp24) September 6, 2012