Singh beats life-threatening illness to return triumphantly to cricket
Six months ago the Indian left-hand bowler was staring death in the face while battling cancer
Six months ago, Indian all-rounder Yuvraj Singh was battling cancer in the United States and wondering if he would live, let alone play cricket again.
He returned after energy-sapping chemotherapy treatment in April, began light training in June and two months later found himself fast-tracked into the Indian team for the World Twenty20.
Former players like Ravi Shastri and Sanjay Manjrekar questioned the left-hander’s selection when he failed to deliver in the first few games.
He was not fully fit, they said, he was short of match practice and needed to make way for another player.
Yuvraj answered his critics in the crunch game against Pakistan with two wickets in three overs, a direct hit to effect a run out before partnering Virat Kohli in an unbroken half-century stand to see India home.
Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni was delighted with Yuvraj’s return to form, saying he never had any doubts about the 30-year-old’s fitness or his ability with bat or ball.
“Yuvi was already in the team, it wasn’t even a consideration whether he would play or not,” Dhoni said after the eight-wicket win over Pakistan in Colombo.
“It is a good option to have a left-arm spinner, someone who takes the ball away from the right-hand batsman. Everyone knows Yuvraj is a very good fielder, and he effected a good run-out too.”
Yuvraj has scored 45 runs in four matches so far, including a best of 19 not out off 16 balls against Pakistan. He has also claimed six wickets, the most by an Indian bowler alongwith seamer Lakshmipathy Balaji.
Yuvraj said: “I am just happy I have another life – a second chance. There were times when I was not sure I would play again.”
India take on South Africa in the last Super Eights match tonight, needing a win to remain in contention for the semi-finals.