In what seems an uncanny coincidence now, star Indian cricketer Yuvraj Singh did an advertisement for an insurance company where he stated that all was well till the bat was doing the talking but once the runs stopped coming, there were no guarantees in life.
He did this commercial much before he was diagnosed with cancer (or rather a rare type of seminoma or germ cell tumour), apparently curable as said by the doctors and for which he is undergoing treatment in the US. Little did he realize that the words that he was uttering would come back to haunt him one day. Incidentally, he did a repeat of the same advertisement after he came to know of his ailment as a testimony to what he had said earlier as being true.
Yes, prayers and best wishes have been pouring in for the cricketer, but for me it is not about whether he will be able to get back to playing cricket once again or whether he will be able to entertain us with the kind of batting that he is known for.
I completely agree with former Indian captain Sourav Ganguly, who said on a TV show, that this is more about a young man whose whole life is in front of him and who has a family waiting for him. What is important is that he gets back his health to lead a long life and overcomes a disease, the very name of which sends shivers down our spines.
I guess in times like these, one’s inner strength and courage along with the support of the family members helps one to fight back. Everyone says that Yuvi is a fighter and I am sure he is. One of those times when Yuvraj displayed his fighting abilities to the hilt was during the World Cup in 2011 which India won after a gap of 28 years and in which he was the Man of the Series. Yuvraj came back to form just at the right time and amassed 362 runs and claimed 15 wickets during the tournament. He was forgiven by fans like me for his inconsistency over the years.
On a given day when on a song, Yuvi is a treat to watch. But then he has been equally frustrating with his inconsistent performance and his lack of fitness. No one doubts Yuvi’s talent – he is a natural and one of the best finishers in the limited version of the game, but then there have been times when people have questioned his commitment and his motivational levels. He has been in news as much for his sixes as for his off-field antics and his flamboyant lifestyle. Also he could never establish himself as a Test player where he has been struggling under varied bowling attacks.
To be fair to him, he has also been plagued with injuries on a regular basis ever since he made his debut in 2000. He was dropped from the Indian ODI side but then made his comeback. Likewise, everyone is positive that he will make a comeback this time too, probably from one of the toughest crises of his life till date.
Yuvi can take heart from the fact that the current Australian captain Michael Clarke was diagnosed with skin cancer, supposedly mild, which he overcame and was subsequently able to get back to the game. Also Dave Callaghan, the South African cricketer who fought cancer, came back to play international cricket. I am also reminded of former England opener, Geoff Boycott who was detected with cancer tissues over his neck but as it was found out in the early stages, he was cured of it.
Yuvraj can also take inspiration from one of the most courageous and doughty examples of a fight back story in the sporting world which the fans never tire of hearing – the amazing story of world famous cyclist Lance Armstrong. He was afflicted with testicular cancer and his chances of survival were said to be 40%. But showcasing a self belief that is rare, he went through chemotherapy and rehabilitation and then went on to win the Tour de France. He won it seven times in a row.
The cricketer did tweet that he was looking forward to meeting Armstrong for motivation. Yes, Lance’s autobiography, ‘It's Not about the Bike: My Journey Back to Life’ has inspired many around the world and not just sportsperson.
<i>Post Script:</i> Life can be very unpredictable but we have to take it head on. I guess there is no other way. Get well soon Yuvi. I am sure like on the cricketing field, off the field too you will continue to inspire millions of fans with your never-say-die attitude. Like Indian legend Sunil Gavaskar said on hearing about Yujraj’s ailment – “He will have to fight it like you score a hundred. Take all the blows initially, but eventually get there.”