February 6, 2012

Gutsy Yuvraj Singh expected to win battle against cancer to stage another forceful comeback

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By Syed Khalid Mahmood

These have been the most turbulent days in Indian cricket. Not only their team is getting hammered in Australia in every format of the game but one of the most vibrant characters, Yuvraj Singh, is laid low with cancer and currently undergoing chemotherapy in the United States of America (USA).

Yuvraj, who was adjudged Man of the Tournament in the last year’s World Cup, having helped his team recapture the crown after 28 years will now be watching his teammates so dearly miss him in the ongoing ODI series against Australia and Sri Lanka.

His mere presence could have lifted the spirits of the demoralized outfit in the One-day Internationals after the unexpected whitewash in the Test series against Australia.

Although the Indians used to talk about their bench strength with awe, particularly in the batting department, it appears a thing of the past and they badly need committed and courageous batters who could do the business.

In this context the return of Yuvraj becomes all the more important. India would have to live without him for the next few months but he should be walking straight back in the side the moment he passes the fitness test.

It’s indeed unfortunate that he has been diagnosed with cancer with his condition being described "mediastinal seminoma," a germ-cell tumour located between his two lungs. The condition, according to the doctor, is neither lung cancer nor a tumour that had spread into the lungs. Mediastinal seminoma is a rare tumour which forms less than 1% of cancers on the whole.

"We are very lucky to know that this is a seminoma variety of germ-cell tumour which are mostly curable with therapy and moreover would be unlikely to cause any detriment to Yuvraj's career in the long term," the doctor was quoted as saying.

Yuvraj, reportedly, will begin the third of his nine weeks of chemotherapy in the USA. "In the first few days Yuvi may not feel very good. He may feel nauseous, but starting this week he will be on the mend and may even do a bit of training as he improves, under the guidance of a specialist physiotherapist from the BCCI,” the doctor was quoted as saying.

“The chemotherapy has been planned with the aim of ensuring Yuvraj can return to full fitness and readiness for cricket. Yuvraj should be able to start active training in about ten weeks. If I was asked: will Yuvraj Singh the person be cured, I will say very likely yes. If you ask: will we see the return of Yuvraj Singh the cricketer, I would say most likely yes and he will return with the same fervour that he had when he left. In all likelihood, he should be on the field on May 1," he added.

The examples of Simon O'Donnell and Dave Callaghan having resumed their international cricket career after successful treatment of cancer should gladden the followers of Yuvraj and the man himself.

The Australian all-rounder, O'Donnell, had a lump on his rib was found to be cancerous soon after he helped his win the 1987 World Cup. He underwent chemotherapy and made a strong comeback to international cricket in 1988-89.

Callaghan, a South Africa all-rounder, was treated for cancer in 1991. He returned to full health and earned a place in the national squad the following year, going on to play 29 ODIs before retirement in 2003.

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