New Delhi, February 8, 2012 (AFP) - India's cancer-stricken World Cup hero Yuvraj Singh has vowed to return "stronger than ever" to competitive cricket, saying he was responding well to treatment in the United States.
The ace all-rounder, named man of the tournament after India's World Cup win in April last year, is currently undergoing chemotherapy for a rare condition, mediastinal seminoma, a malignant tumour located between his lungs.
"I have immense faith in the doctors here and by the grace of God I shall be back to my best soon," Yuvraj said from his hospital in Boston in remarks published in the Times of India newspaper on Wednesday.
"I am on medication and doctors have time and again told me that I am responding well and that I would be back playing cricket. I am a fighter and I will return stronger than ever."
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A senior Delhi-based oncologist who has been treating the 30-year-old Yuvraj, Nitesh Rohatgi also said Monday the cricketer would be able to start active training by May.
"Initially, I was angry and confused. I was even repentant and kept thinking I could have done some things in life differently," said Yuvraj, an aggressive left-handed batsman and effective spinner.
"However, I have a counsellor here who has helped me get over the initial shock of learning that I am suffering from cancer. I have come to terms with it now."
Yuvraj said he drew inspiration from American cyclist Lance Armstrong, who overcame testicular cancer to win numerous Tour de France titles. "I am currently reading Lance Armstrong's book 'It's Not About The Bike'. I'm sure the book will motivate me and pull me through this difficult time," he said.
Yuvraj had a dream run in the World Cup, scoring 362 runs and grabbing 15 wickets in nine matches. He has not played competitive cricket since taking part in two of three home Tests against the West Indies in November.
Thousands of well-wishers, including team-mates, officials and politicians, sent messages of support. "It is the love of family, friends and fans that has kept me going," said Yuvraj, who has scored 8,051 runs in 274 one-dayers and 1,775 runs in 37 Tests since making his international debut in 2000.
"Till a couple of days ago, I was responding to posts and tweets on my accounts on social networking sites, but the sheer volume of comments praying for my well-being would require people to be hired to ensure everyone is responded to."
Yuvraj also appealed for an end to media speculation about his illness. "I have asked my mother and friends not to speak to the media, as things may get sensationalised," he said.