“It’s only once I accepted cancer that I could beat it. When life knocks you down, you have a choice — to get up. So I thought to myself, ‘get up and do it again.” – Yuvraj Singh
Immediately after the 2011 World Cup, in which Yuvraj Singh made history by scoring 362 runs, taking 15 wickets and was adjudged Man of the series, he was diagnosed with a cancerous tumor in his left lung. This blog is an inspirational story of Yuvi (as he is fondly called), the man who overcame deadly cancer and who fought multiple adversities to “Get up and do it again”. The life of Yuvraj Singh, the blue-eyed boy of Indian Cricket is a story of grit, determination, valour and resilience.
Yuvraj kept ignoring many early symptoms during the tournament in order to stay focused on his game. Yuvi later revealed that it was as early as 2011 when he began experiencing severe symptoms such as acute breathlessness, where he would spit out gouts of blood. He also experienced a severe loss in stamina, which was likely to disrupt his form.
He said, “At first I was in denial about it — playing for India was more important than my health and for a few months I chose to ignore the blood I spat out or my decline in stamina.” He met a doctor who confirmed that he had Seminoma Lung Cancer. He confides, “I cried like a baby. When no one could see me or hear me. Not because I feared what cancer would do, but because I didn’t want the disease. I wanted my life to be normal, which it could no longer be!” However, he realized quickly, that to play cricket again, he had to receive an effective cancer treatment. He got started on multiple rounds of chemotherapy and flew to Boston and Indianapolis in 2012. After three intensive cycles of Chemotherapy, he flew back to India, eager to play for the team again. The question everyone was asking – Will he be able to make a comeback? He fought back to recover and made a return to the field in a T20 International against New Zealand in September 2012.
There are so many lessons we can learn from this man, whose life is a story of courage, agony and finally triumph. Here are the top 5 lessons from his life.
Potential to Performance
In his initial days, Yuvi showed interest in skating and even won the under-14 National Championship. However, his eyes were set on Cricket and he began with Punjab’s under-12 team. He quickly rose through the various age-levels and gained national eminence by hammering a triple century in the final of the Under-19 Cooch Behar Trophy in Jamshedpur. In the Under-19 World Cup in Sri Lanka, in the year 2000 Yuvraj was adjudged the ‘Player of the Tournament’ as India cruised to their maiden title in the event. He earned his inaugural call-up to the senior team for the ICC KnockOut tournament in the same year. Yuvi did not take too long to translate his potential into performance. He smashed an 80-ball 84 against a bowling attack featuring the likes of Glenn McGrath, Brett Lee and Jason Gillespie in the quarter-final. A star had arrived at international level. Yuvraj’s amazing knock as an 18-year old continues to be an ideal image of talent being translated into output. One can possess an enormous amount of potential in any field. However, when the early opportunity emerges, it is imperative to transform the power of potential into a display of brilliance.
Follow targets in an unrelenting manner
Before Virat Kohli era, it was the likes of Yuvraj and MS Dhoni who helped India surge through countless run-chases with complete ease. With both batsmen then at their peak, the mid 2000s saw them script numerous victories. While Dhoni was about brutal power, Yuvraj relied on the gift of timing to propel India to an unprecedented 17 consecutive run-chases in ODIs. The two solid batsmen were the heroes of the numerous Indian victories. When challenged with the pressure, Yuvraj’s composure helped him anchor plenty of run-chases in a relentless manner. Drawing a parallel and inculcating a similar quality should assist us while we face stiff targets or deadlines. Adopting a positive mindset becomes instrumental in overcoming supposedly daunting targets in our professional and personal life.
Having a cool temperament
How can we ever forget the six sixes in an over of Stuart Broad. It was after a tiff with Andrew Flintoff that Yuvi went on a rampage. Andrew must be regretting that conversation even today. However, the events that surrounded the astonishing performance had been set in motion by the Dmitri Mascarenhas. The England all-rounder had hammered Yuvraj for five huge sixes off the final five deliveries of the hosts’ innings in an ODI at The Oval. It was exactly 15 days later that Yuvi took revenge by taking full toll of Broad at Durban. Yuvraj must have been tormented by the treatment meted out by Mascarenhas and might not have recovered from the trauma. However, the manner in which he bounced back, from being tormented to becoming the tormentor talks a lot about Yuvi’s temperament. Developing such a calm approach towards life can help an individual deal with misery.
Achieve glory through pain
While an entire nation was celebrating the World Cup win in 2011, the heroes were weeping uncontrollably. The tears pouring from Yuvraj’s eyes were not an out-flowing of uninhibited joy but a real reflection of a deep-rooted feeling of satisfaction. Long after the joy stemming from the 2011 World Cup triumph settled, Yuvi revealed that he had played the entire tournament with immense physical pain. He had difficulty in breathing and was repeatedly coughing up blood. Yuvi found himself having to overcome agony in order to spearhead his country to the ultimate conquest in cricket. Needless to say, Yuvraj’s heart-rending story stands as the exemplary example of taming unbearable pain for the greater good. His elusive determination during the biggest event of his life remains undiminished by the test of time. When one conquers dreadful physical pain to accomplish elevating glory, those critical moments will be cherished forever.
Never give up
Yuvi’s extreme desire for making numerous comebacks into the national team is simply outstanding. Neither the regular times of uncertainty spent out of the field nor the innumerable opposition bowlers have come close to presenting the toughest challenge to Yuvi. Despite being diagnosed with cancer, he remained unfazed and battled on with just one aim – to reclaim his place in the Indian team. By conquering cancer, he not only won the biggest battle of his life but also exuded grit in its purest form.