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CRICKET Yuvraj Singh receives a hero’s welcome

Indian all-rounder who battled cancer talks about his fighting spirit

By K.R. Nayar, Chief Cricket Writer
June 22, 2012
Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News

Dubai: Indian all-rounder Yuvraj Singh, who successfully fought off cancer, received a hero’s welcome at the Dubai World Trade Centre yesterday.

Singh, who is the brand ambassador of the Investors Clinic, was virtually mobbed by the fans at the Indian Property Show hall. Hundreds lined up to wish him a speedy recovery and quick return to action and clinch his place in the Indian team.

In response to a question from Gulf News on what is his advice to players who endure setbacks in their careers, “Fight until you die. That should be the spirit,” Singh said receiving a huge applause from his fans.

He added that he felt stronger and motivated than ever before. “It [his illness] gave a new perspective to my life. I now understand what life is to a person. As a sportsman you take many things for granted because even if you’ve got a niggle or a minor injury you will still keep playing, but now I need to respect my body more and take care of it. I also know that I am not getting any younger, and there is lot more international cricket coming, so I have to be very careful,” said the star all-rounder, who went on to explain how tough it was for him to battle the disease.

“I used to struggle to breathe and was coughing all the time. I could not even have a good meal. So I am happy that I am able to enjoy a good meal now and also enjoy the fresh air. I am now trying to be myself and convince that I am a normal person and will be able to live my life like a normal person,” said Singh, who was given a huge welcome in India by thousands of fans who thronged the airport on his return from America after his treatment in April. “I have understood the importance of family and friends. I think I have emerged a better person.”

Singh, however, was quick to admit he was not yet sure if he would be able to play in the Twenty20 World Cup in Sri Lanka in September.

“What I said is that my target is to get fit for the Twenty20 World Cup. Before that event I have to play a couple of domestic games because I do not want to come back at 70 or 80 per cent fitness, but 100 per cent fit. If I don’t feel up to it, I might take another month or two,” he said.

Singh, who was the hero of India’s first Twenty20 World Cup win and the 2011 World Cup, also said that he was not worried about regaining his place in the team. “As long as I am performing to the best of my ability and doing my best for the country, I will not be worried about my place. At the same time, it is nice to see lots of young players coming out of the Indian Premier League (IPL) and from the domestic circuit. India surely has a great future in the game.”

When asked whether India would perform better in the Twenty20 World Cup after the closely-contested IPL this year, Singh said: “The IPL was a huge success this time and it is a big boost. Twenty20 is a very unpredictable format, so one cannot say who the favourites are, but I would definitely say that my team [India] is up there.”

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