Yuvraj Singh, his flamboyance on hold, is prisoner of an ailment that has shaken him and his family. The melancholy of being forced to stay away from the game slowly fading
Fifty-five tablets a day and the solitude of his room; Yuvraj Singh, his flamboyance on hold, is prisoner of an ailment that has shaken him and his family.
A lung infection, that left him breathless and drained and finally pushed him out of cricket temporarily, has become a vicious enemy. “I am fighting. That is all I can,” says Yuvraj, striking a cheerful front, the melancholy of being forced to stay away from cricket slowly fading from his life.
“It was a very scary period,” says mother Shabnam Singh. It was. She could not even cry. “Yuvi won't let me.” Yuvraj is a strong “lad” and kept reassuring his mother “Don't worry. I'll come out of it.” The illness was dreadful.
Yuvraj confesses, “I was totally shaken. Not allowed to do this, not allowed to do that. Life was difficult. I know my mother kept crying for the first two days. We didn't know what to do. Can't step out of the house for fear of contracting some virus.” Tumour in the lung it was. But thank God, it was non-malignant.
“I've seen a lot. Success, failure, good and bad times! But this was shattering. A proper icing on the cake,” he laughs. “It was very, very hard to deal with and I can't really explain in words.”
Yuvraj, 30, was going through the most turbulent period of his career. Six to eight injuries in 2010 had toughened him, prepared him, for bigger conquests. The World Cup was a golden phase. “I was living a dream. Winning the World Cup (with the Man-of-the-Series award). I was the happiest man on earth. To be detected with tumour. I was wondering. Was it a great year or my worst?”
Support came from family, friends, and thousands of well-wishers. “I won't know most of them but their prayers worked. When doctors said the tumour was non-malignant it was a huge load off my chest. I could suddenly breathe easily.”
But there were very depressing moments. “I would think if it was cancerous, my God, I wouldn't play cricket any more.”
Cricket was all that occupied his mind. “But I also thought I wanted to live. It was life-threatening but then I couldn't just sit and cry. That wouldn't have been me. Those moments made me a tougher man.”
Yuvraj did confide with some senior members of the team but kept the juniors out of the loop. “I am not the one to seek sympathy. I am a self-made man and wanted to fight my battles on my own.
“Sort out my issues myself. My parents were worried but they were also looking after me like none could. I didn't want to think that I won't play cricket again. May be six months, may be one year or may be more. But I was sure I would return to the cricket field.”
Staring at the walls in his new Gurgaon home, Yuvraj discovered a new mantra. “I learnt that cricket is not everything. The fame and adulation that comes is not permanent. But the affection of your friends and family stays with you life-long. There is nothing like happiness. For me happiness was always playing cricket. But I know now, there is nothing like good health.” He has matured hugely in the last few months.
Yuvraj, who last played a competitive match on October 25, begins ‘nets' a week from now. Realistically, he has set sights on the one-day series in Australia begining February 5. “I have to find time to prepare.” Also find time to take “mom” on a drive in his Lamborghini. She never has. Why? “It touches 100 kmph in three seconds. She is scared!” his laughter lights up his mother's face.