Yuvraj Singh has been one of the most phenomenal cricketers of our generations. The heavy-handed batsman and part-time bowler from Punjab has been influential in shaping the way Indian cricket is today, and his personal life and battle with cancer is nothing short of inspirational.
In an interview with Humans of Bombay he poured out his entire life story, and it is a lesson of sorts to those who think they’ve failed.
Read on to see what he said.
Most of my childhood was spent outdoors – either playing cricket, football, tennis or skating. I wasn’t very good at studies, as soon as the school bell rang, I would be out on the field until dinner time!
My tryst with full-time cricket began in a funny way — I won the gold medal in only one sport when I was around 10 years old and that was in skating! yuvraj singh hob
MY FATHER SAT ME DOWN THAT DAY AND SAID, ‘I UNDERSTAND YOU CAN’T STUDY BUT IF YOU LOVE SPORTS SO MUCH AT LEAST TAKE ONE THAT CAN GET YOU SOMEWHERE…FOCUS ON CRICKET.’ THAT’S HOW IT ALL STARTED.
Even while growing up there were struggles — I didn’t get selected at the under 14 trials in Haryana, but at every step of the way I pushed harder towards the one goal that I wanted to dedicate my life towards…playing for India. I still remember, my first real ‘job’ was playing for Air India’s corporate team and my stipend for the whole month was 500 Rupees given by Punjab Communications.
The real turning point was the Under 19 World Cup where I performed better than ever before.
I REMEMBER AT THAT POINT, I WOULD WATCH TENDULKAR AND GANGULY ON MY TELEVISION SET AND KNOW ON EVERY FIBRE OF MY BEING THAT SOMEDAY I WOULD BE OUT THERE PLAYING WITH THEM— I FELT IT, I KNEW IT; I BELIEVED IT.
In 2000 I got the opportunity to play my first International game with these big guns. I can’t describe that experience — in my head, I was still the little boy from Chandigarh running around on the field, muddy, breaking windows with my shots but when I looked around I saw my heroes — Tendulkar, Ganguly, Kumble on the field with me.
As I eased into playing with them, they turned into my family.
Having always been a prankster, the Indian dressing room was no different for me.
Jokes apart, the journey has been tremendous.
Whether it was hitting 6 sixes, or winning the 2011 World Cup, these are special moments which very few people in the world have the privilege of experiencing and that’s what I’ve always felt while playing for my country — privileged.
OF COURSE, THERE HAVE BEEN DOWNS AS WELL — ONE CANNOT ALWAYS LIVE UPTO THE EXPECTATIONS WHERE A NATION OF 1.2 BILLION PEOPLE WANTS YOU TO WIN EVERY SINGLE GAME.
More than that, nothing could have been worse than having to give up something you love —and I had to get out of the game for many months because of my battle with cancer.
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. It’s only once I accepted cancer that I could beat it.
WHEN LIFE KNOCKS DOWN YOU HAVE A CHOICE — TO GET UP. SO I THOUGHT TO MYSELF -‘GET UP AND DO IT AGAIN’. I CAME BACK WITHIN 3 MONTHS OF MY TREATMENT, ONLY BECAUSE I WASN’T DONE WITH CRICKET — I DON’T THINK I’LL EVER BE DONE WITH IT.
The way I look at it, I went through cancer so that through my foundation YouWeCan I could do more for those who need it. I believe that I had to go through it to have a larger purpose.
God has been kind enough to give me everything and the only way forward is to give back. I’m constantly looking for ways to push this cause and through YWCFashion, I’m looking to enter a different avenue and make the fight against cancer even stronger.
TODAY, I SPONSOR THE ENTIRE EDUCATION OF 25 KIDS WHO’S PARENTS DON’T HAVE THE FUNDS. WHEN I MET THEM AND THEY TOLD ME ABOUT THEIR AMBITIONS, I KNEW THAT THIS IS WHAT I WANT TO CONTINUE DOING— GIVE BACK AND HELP THEM MAKE A ‘COME BACK’, JUST LIKE I DID.
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