As soon as you touch down at Vizag, a huge hoarding proclaims — ‘ Welcome to the City of Destiny’. For a man who has been on a rollercoaster of nightmares and dreams, the symbolism can’t be starker.
Life has come full circle for Yuvraj Singh, as he readies to take the field for his first competitive match since battling a rare germ cell cancer, mediastinal seminoma.
Ten months after he last donned India colours in a Test match against the West Indies in Kolkata, the all- rounder is expected to be included in the playing XI for the first Twenty20 International against New Zealand at the ACA-VDCA Stadium here on Saturday.
In addition to the 20,000-odd fans who will be watching and cheering his every move, Yuvraj has made sure all those who supported him during his time of need will be at the stadium with him — including mother Shabnam Singh and his friends.
As soon as the entourage reached Vizag, there was a palpable sense of foreboding among them, because of the threatening clouds that hovered overhead.
“Come on! It can’t rain tomorrow,” one friend pleaded aloud.
Having seen Yuvraj cry and writhe in unimaginable pain, they too have spent days with tears in their eyes. Which is why, his return to cricket is perhaps the biggest day of their lives too.
But for Shabnam, there are only silver linings all around.
“What colour are the t- shirts we are going to wear tomorrow?” she asked, and then revealed, “ We’ll all be wearing blue YouWe- Can t- shirts for the game,” referring to Yuvi’s recently- launched cancer foundation.
Shabnam has cooked Yuvi’s favourite kadhi- chawal, packed it in a casserole and carried it all the way to Vizag.
Yuvraj is also hoping and praying for the rain to go away. Referring to his and Harbhajan Singh’s comeback to the national team, he tweeted: “ The singhs are back ! Please god stop the rain I just can’t wait anymore will send in few tweets Tom( orrow) to thank everyone.” Earlier, he had said it was a new lease of life for him, and he was willing to make the most of it. “ It doesn’t matter if I score one run or 20. What is important is that I’m playing,” Yuvraj said.
“It is hard to believe that I will be playing for India again. A few months back I had trouble climbing four steps, now I can’t wait to take the field. It is like starting a new life.” Yuvraj Singh has waited each moment of the past 296 days for this moment to arrive. Dreamer, believer, fighter — whatever you may like to call him, his day is here.
- Makes 84 in just his second ODI against Australia at the ICC KnockOut in Nairobi, Kenya, in October 2000