Yuvraj Singh is a former Indian cricketer who has played in all formats of cricket as a left-handed batsman. Yuvraj is not just one of the famous cricketers in India. He is the son of former Indian fast bowler and Punjabi actor Yograj Singh.
Throughout his career, he was regarded for his aggressive batting. He also played with the Indian cricket team in ODIs from 2000 to 2017. In 2011, he was named as the Man of the Tournament and was noted as one of the top performers during the ICC World T20 in 2007.
Yuvraj scored a total of six sixes in one over and set the record for scoring the fastest fifty in T20Is.
He started his career with Punjab Under-16s at the age of 13 years old. The following year, he was promoted to Under-19s and scored a total of 137 not out against Himachal Pradesh Under-19s.
Yuvraj made his first-class debut against Orissa during the 1997-98 Ranji Trophy but was dismissed. He also represented India in a series against Sri Lanka in 1999 and scored 89 runs from 55 balls.
However, his career was not all unicorns and rainbow. Yuvraj was diagnosed with a cancerous tumour in his left lung and underwent intense chemotherapy in 2011.
His doctor advised that it would be best for him to be treated in the United States. Following the advice of his doctor, he took his chemotherapy sessions in Boston and Indianapolis. The same place where Lance Armstrong underwent chemotherapy for a germ cell tumour.
Armstrong’s journey of surviving cancer and his book ‘It’s Not About the Bike: My Journey Back to Life’ gave loads of inspiration to Yuvraj to fight against this deadly disease.
According to some reports, it was during the World Cup season that he would wake up in the middle of the night because of difficulty in breathing.
Back in Action
A year later, he was finally discharged from the hospital after completing the third and final cycle of his chemotherapy. A few months later, he made his T20 comeback against New Zealand.
Even after taking a break to give attention to his health, his outstanding performance on the field is remarkable. He was named for the Arjuna Award in 2012 and a Padma Shri Award in 2014.
As a matter of fact, the Padma Shri award is India’s fourth-highest civilian honour to be received by athletes who bring pride to the country.
Because of this sudden turn of events, he became an inspiration to the majority of amateur and aspiring cricketers. Some even asked how he was able to cope up with the situation.
‘Cancer does not mean death. Don’t be scared… Be positive… Please don’t think that your life is about to end… Take the right advice and act as soon as you can… If there’s an issue in your system, don’t ignore it… Look at me, I never thought I’d get the chance to again play for India, but I’ve beaten cancer… God has given me this opportunity and my love for cricket has brought me back. I see this alone as a huge achievement… The experience has made me stronger (in the mind)… If you’re strong, then you automatically become a positive person. Cancer doesn’t mean that you’re going to die’, Yuvraj said.
When asked about the side effects of chemotherapy, he simply answered that it made him reel on his knees. But the thought of playing for cricket for the country is one of the things that motivated him to come back even stronger.
Here are some of his achievements:
- Hit six sixes in a single over during the ICC World T20 match in 2007
- The first all-rounder to score more than 300 runs and 15 wickets in a single World Cup
- Named as the Man of the Tournament during the ICC Cricket World Cup in 2011
- Named as the Most Inspiring Sportsperson of the Year in 2014
- Received a Bharatiya Manavata Vikas Puraskar award in 2018
In 2006, he was signed by Microsoft to become a brand ambassador for Xbox 360. Yuvraj was also the main protagonist of an animated full-length feature film ‘Captain India’.
Aside from being an ambassador for Microsoft, he also signed a contract with sport365.in, an online store focused on selling sports and fitness equipment. In 2013, he was appointed as the brand ambassador of Puma and Ulysse Nardin.
With his cancer survivor story, his own charity, YouWeCan has treated hundreds of cancer patients. With the help of Jayakrishnan, the founder of Heyyo Media, YouWeCan initiated a nationwide cancer awareness across India.
Even if you are the best cricketer in the world, there comes a point that you will need to retire. In 2019, Singh announced his retirement in all formats of the game through a press conference in Mumbai.
‘I would say I am extremely lucky to play 400-plus games for India. I would’ve not imagined doing this when I started my career in cricket. Through this journey, some matches that remain in my memory are the 2002 NatWest series final, my first Test hundred in Lahore in 2004, the 2007 Test series in England, of course, the six sixes and the 2007 T20 World Cup. And then the most memorable one was the 2011 World Cup finals’, he said.
‘And then, probably the worst day in my career was the 2014 World T20 final against Lanka where I scored 11 off 21 balls. It was so shattering that I felt my career was over. As for now, I have decided to provide service and help for cancer affected people’, he added.
Although Yuvraj is no longer active in the cricket scene, he still remains as one of the best cricketers in history.