By Karthik Parimal
“Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference” – Winston Churchill
The above quote is omnipresent. And yet, there are few who actually realise its significance and follow it to the letter. The ones who do will testify that there is indeed no challenge so Herculean that it cannot be overcome.
Yuvraj Singh’s career was all but over a few months ago when he was diagnosed with a rare germ cell cancer. While battling the dreaded Big C, there was nothing on his mind but survival. It takes more than just medical treatment and prayers to get back to the top, and that’s where Yuvraj’s attitude must have acted as a catalyst. He is not just back; he looks more driven and hungry than ever before.
The road to comeback must have been unquestionably arduous. For a man who has played 335 international games with 10,393 runs and 126 wickets under his belt, starting from the scratch was always going to be a cumbersome process. But the way Yuvraj batted at Chennai on Tuesday, it appeared as though his phenomenal World Cup form hadn’t deserted him. That, Yuvraj couldn’t help his side cross the finish line was a dampener, but the match will always be remembered as a celebration of human spirit and the return of one of cricket’s greatest warriors.
It was reckoned that Yuvraj’s return to the Indian side was an inspirational story in itself, regardless of how his performance would be - a point made in my previous article. But for Yuvraj, it was more than just donning the national colours again; he would have wanted to prove that he was still capable of rubbing shoulders with the best in the world. Firstly, to see him field at his original, crucial position at point, before he came on to roll his arms for a couple of overs, was heartwarming. Secondly, the way he sent the ball flying across the ropes, on two occasions, showed that there was indeed no dip in the level of threat he could pose to the opposition. The cancer definitely hasn’t touched his cricketing artistry.
It’s possible that Yuvraj wouldn’t have chosen to be available for selection had he felt he didn’t have his full to offer. Many a times, there have been cases of concealed injuries showing up during crucial junctures of a tournament, but Yuvraj is one player who wouldn’t subscribe to such scenarios. Not long ago he had stated that he’d return to the squad only when fully fit. “I don’t want to rush and I don’t want to come back at 75 percent fitness. I might take six months. I might take two months. But the day I feel 100 percent, I will be back, surely,” he said. That clarity of thought mixed with right attitude has helped Yuvraj gallop his way to where he belongs in the Indian line-up.
All the apprehensions about Yuvraj’s inclusion in the Indian squad for the T20 World Cup starting in a week’s time have been allayed. His swift knock of 34 has instilled hope in an Indian middle-order that has become a little frail since the decline of Rohit Sharma. Moreover, Yuvraj’s mere presence on the field will be an inspiration. Whether he can replicate the performances he showcased during the 2011 World Cup remains to be seen, although it’s a tad bit unfair to place lofty expectations on him just yet. But comebacks are not new in sporting history, or in life, and such athletes have returned bigger and better after near-death experiences – Lance Armstrong being the perfect example.
For the Indian supporters, the outcome of this match appeared inconsequential, although a victory would have been like an icing on the cake. But at the end of the day it’s just a game, and something much bigger was celebrated even in defeat. Viewers worldwide would have taken sides during the game, but none would have hoped to see Yuvraj fail. He was cheered, endlessly, all across the world, by everyone who knew he existed. It was cricket, and life, that was celebrated.
(Karthik Parimal, a Correspondent with CricketCountry, is a cricket aficionado and a worshipper of the game. He idolises Steve Waugh and can give up anything, absolutely anything, just to watch a Kumar Sangakkara cover drive. He can be followed on Twitter at https://twitter.com/karthik_parimal)