India's star all-rounder Yuvraj Singh targets a return to international cricket during the ICC World Twenty20 tournament to be held in Sri Lanka this year.
Yuvraj has spoken of his emotional battle against cancer in the first edition of the ICC’s new weekly multi-platform show, ICC Cricket 360, which will be launched on Thursday.
The weekly show, produced by IMG, part of IMG Worldwide, on behalf of the ICC, features a moving interview with the India all-rounder speaking openly on his fight with cancer.
In the interview the 30-year old admits that it was difficult to come to terms with the fact he was seriously ill.
“Initially it was hard to accept that a guy like me who is training six to seven hours a day, running around all the time as an athlete, can get diagnosed with something like this,” said Yuvraj who took the player of the tournament award at the World Cup last year. “It took a long time to sink in but eventually I made peace with it. I knew I have an issue and I have to sort it out.”
Yuvraj admits that the incredible support he received from Indian fans during his treatment made a huge difference to his recovery and spirit.
“The support was overwhelming, especially from India. One of the students from a college in Indianapolis came to see me and I felt like I was in India. I just want to thank everybody for their support and for their care. I went through chemotherapy which is hard for everybody but the wishes and the love is what made me come back,” said Yuvraj who is expected in Dubai today for the Indian Property Show.
Yuvraj also decided to share his emotional journey in coping with cancer in a very public manner via his personal Twitter account.
Explaining the reasons for this Yuvraj said: “There was a lot of speculation on what cancer I had, what had been going on, so I just want to keep everybody in the loop by saying this is what is happening and this is how my treatment is being done and I’m being positive. I just want to spread the message to other people who are diagnosed with such a disease that they can also fight it with the support of their family and their loved ones.”
Having already returned to light training, Yuvraj believes that his recovery is going well, and is enjoying a healthier lifestyle.
“I’m feeling good. It’s been two months since I finished my chemotherapy. Initially my energy levels were low but now I am following my diet and eating loads of food and it’s getting better in recovery. I’ve done six or seven sessions very light training and very light yoga. I’m just getting back into the groove of being a normal person, breathe normally, which is a lot of excitement and fun for me at the moment.”
The all-rounder didn’t want to commit to when he anticipates returning to the cricket field, stating that he is keen to avoid coming back to play prematurely.
“Well I can’t really give a timeframe but I have to see how my body is recovering and how fast I can come on the field. Actually I don’t want to rush and I don’t want to come back at 75% fitness. I might take six months, I might take two months. So I don’t know. But the day I feel 100% I surely will be back,” he said.
“Playing for India is going to be a huge challenge for me because the body has been under a lot of shock which nobody can understand except me. Only a cancer patient can understand what he is going through. So it’s going to be a big challenge for me to come back and play for India again.”
But the all-rounder, who is perhaps best remembered for his astonishing six sixes off one Stuart Broad over at the ICC World Twenty20 South Africa 2007, did hint that he may be available for selection for the next edition of the event in September and believes he can help his country capture the title just like he did in the 50-ver format.
“I think (the) favourites are India because we’ve got the biggest hitters - biggest hitters in town that’s what I want to say. Hopefully I should be back by then. I’m not saying I’m the reason, it’s just that I feel we have the strongest side and if we can sort out our bowling out in T20 I’m sure we can be a strong unit. There are other strong teams like Australia, South Africa which always compete at the top level at world events,” he said.
The first episode of ICC Cricket 360 also contains features on the 25th anniversary of the Reliance ICC Player Rankings, a look back at the ICC Cricket Committee meeting, an in-depth round up of the development of women’s cricket in the ICC East Asia-Pacific region and a profile of Durham County Cricket Club. The show is expected to be distributed to over 200 territories.