The life Yuvraj has got back

‘I wouldn’t have survived a fourth cycle... I would’ve died’, says the cancer survivor.


“More strong mentally, much more positive, more religious....” That, in his own words, is the Yuvraj Singh of today.

The smile is back. As is the hair on the 30-year-old’s pate, which had fallen off during the three cycles of chemotherapy in the US.

Having successfully fought against a rather rare form of germ cell cancer, Yuvraj is focused on two things: making his India comeback (which should be in Vizag on September 8) and spreading awareness through YouWeCan, set up by the foundation which bears his name.

After over six hours of sweating it out at the National Cricket Academy here, Yuvraj spent around 20 minutes in the pool at the luxurious ITC Gardenia. The day’s training complete, he spoke to The Telegraph over tea and sandwiches.

“I’ve got my life back; this is a fresh innings.... Earlier, I’d only pray in temples; now it has become a daily ritual... thanks to my Guruji, who has given me some prayers to recite, and my mother (Shabnam)....

“It’s not that I pray for very long, about 10-12 minutes.... But, yeah, I’ve definitely become more religious....

“I’d always been the positive type, but my illness has made me much more positive. As I’ve told you, I’ve got my life back....

“Of course, I’m more strong mentally as well. For three-four months, I had to fight it out both physically and mentally.... I managed to do so.”

Yuvraj is off medication but will need quarterly check-ups. The next is due in September.

“For now, I won’t have to travel back to Indianapolis.... The scans are going to be done in India and emailed to Dr Lawrence Einhorn there. I haven’t been given a formal list of dos and don’ts, but I’ve become regular with my eating and try to sleep early,” Yuvraj said as a fellow guest at the deluxe property congratulated him on his recovery.

Briefly turning emotional, Yuvraj remarked that he “wouldn’t” have survived had a fourth cycle of chemotherapy been necessary.

“Chemotherapy is painful.... My body had gone by the time the third cycle came and I had to be admitted to hospital (Indiana University Melvin and Bren Simon Cancer Centre) for the final five days.... There were times when I was on a wheelchair and I wouldn’t have survived a fourth cycle.... I would surely have died....”

For a minute or so, neither of us spoke.

Yuvraj then reached for his cup of tea and continued: “I consider myself blessed.... God has been kind; I’ve got such a wonderful mother, so many well-wishers.... Now, I want to spread awareness, do my bit for others....

“If I can fight cancer, so can you.... YouWeCan is for that and our first centre should open (in Gurgaon) in December.... The stigma attached to cancer has to go away.... Early detection holds the key and I’m a living example.”

Yuvraj acknowledged that confirmation of cancer came after tests in London, with Dr Peter Harper being brutally frank about his condition.

That was in late December last year and in early 2012. For Yuvraj, it seems ages ago.

As reported in these columns, Yuvraj’s story of courage is being put together in the form of a book, expected to hit the stands in December.

The staff at the academy have, by the way, been bowled over by Yuvraj’s determination.

“Yuvi’s amazing.... Gym, running, nets, high catches, ground fielding... the guy’s doing everything,” one of the astonished seniors told this reporter.

Player of the Tournament in the 2011 World Cup, Yuvraj is himself “tense and excited” at being mere weeks away from again playing for India.

“Look, I don’t know what will happen.... Don’t know how I’m going to fare, but I’m just happy.... I couldn’t even think of again playing when cancer was diagnosed.... Yet, here I am talking to you....”

Yuvraj needn’t worry. Irrespective of the runs he scores on his comeback, the world already sees him as a winner.

Matches

MORE TOP STORIES TODAY

On Now: Chennai vs Punjab

On Now: Chennai vs Punjab

MS Dhoni won the toss and opted to bat at Abu Dhabi. More »

Evenly matched Rajasthan and Hyderabad face-off

Evenly matched Rajasthan and Hyderabad face-off

A quality that defines Rajasthan and Hyderabad is consistency. Rajasthan was one among two teams to enjoy complete dominance at home last season. Hyderabad… More »

Beleaguered Yuvraj tees off to Sharjah's delight

Beleaguered Yuvraj tees off to Sharjah's delight

Yuvraj Singh was hardly convincing to begin with against Delhi, but a big dose of crowd support and a helping of poor bowling meant he had the opportunity… More »

Trott to take 'immediate break' from cricket

Trott to take 'immediate break' from cricket

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) on Friday confirmed that batsman Jonathan Trott is to take another break from all cricket with immediate eff… More »

Fiery star Stokes bids to curb his temper

Fiery star Stokes bids to curb his temper

England all-rounder Ben Stokes admits he must keep his anger under control if he is to end his international exile. More »

Bangalore's arsenal blazes to victory

Bangalore's arsenal blazes to victory

Yuvraj Singh was back to his best in his first match for Royal Challengers Bangalore. More »

Pakistan cricketers face probe

Pakistan cricketers face probe

Pakistani cricket authorities have launched an investigation after a number of current international stars played in exhibition matches in the United States… More »

BCCI to meet before next court hearing

BCCI to meet before next court hearing

The BCCI will hold an emergent working committee meeting on April 20 to discuss the future course of action with regard to the Supreme Court hearing concerning… More »

Gavaskar wants a clean IPL

Gavaskar wants a clean IPL

"Integrity is non-negotiable..." says the BCCI's interim chief ahead of Season 7 of the tainted league. More »

Kallis, Narine star in KKR win

Kallis, Narine star in KKR win

An all-round display saw Knight Riders thump Mumbai Indians by 41 runs in the IPL-7 opener. More »

'Yak' Kallis still on top of his game

'Yak' Kallis still on top of his game

The 38-year-old South African veteran turned it on for Kolkata Knight RIders in the opening match of IPL-7. More »

Time for Chennai to enter familiar cocoon

Time for Chennai to enter familiar cocoon

Chennai have an emphatic 8-3 lead in the head-to-head with Punjab, with one game tied More »

Srinivasan named in fixing report: SC

Srinivasan named in fixing report: SC

The court emphasised that the tainted administrator can no longer work for the BCCI. More »

Yuvraj happy to play for RCB: Kohli

Yuvraj happy to play for RCB: Kohli

New-look RCB will play their first game of IPL-7 on Thursday. More »

IPL: News Line

IPL: News Line

A round-up of all the news from this season of the IPL. More »

Shane Watson issues moral warning

Shane Watson issues moral warning

'Everyone knows what is right and what is wrong and if you do the wrong thing it will be found out' More »

Why I'm not looking forward to the IPL

Why I'm not looking forward to the IPL

Welcome to another season of a league that many watch but few trust. More »

Johnson may quit T20s for Tests

Johnson may quit T20s for Tests

Australia's Mitchell Johnson may quit limited-overs cricket to prolong his test career with an eye on the 2015 Ashes series in England, the fast bowler… More »

Nepal players call off boycott

Nepal players call off boycott

Thaw in relations after formation of an advisory committee that would work in tandem with the Cricket Association of Nepal. More »

There's a lot going on: Fleming

There's a lot going on: Fleming

He experienced anxious moments in the lead-up to the tournament as the courts decided on whether to suspend the franchise, he said, but stressed that the… More »

Latif couldn’t work with tainted players

Latif couldn’t work with tainted players

Former Pakistan cricket captain Rashid Latif said Tuesday he turned down the job of national chief selector because he could not work with ex-players tainted… More »

We are not over-confident: Bailey

We are not over-confident: Bailey

Indian Premier League — George Bailey-led Kings XI Punjab will face Chennai Super Kings on Friday. More »

Taxing issue — BCCI hits roadblock

Taxing issue — BCCI hits roadblock

MoU between BCCI & its units to avoid double taxation delayed after a few decline to share details. More »

Big runs expected, with bat and ball

Big runs expected, with bat and ball

Royal Challengers Bangalore: Their main concern, once again, is the fast bowling More »