Hii friends. Hope you all are safe and are taking good care of yourselves. So here I am with my first blog on the inspirational and iconic journey of Yuvraj Singh! I can’t think of a better player to start my blog, because he is a role model and an inspiration for all! In this blog I will be sharing about Yuvi’s Cricketing Career and also about his courageous fight with cancer. I hope that in this tough times my blog will bring a smile on your face and give you courage to fight this Pandemic! So let’s get started….
Cricketing Career of Yuvi
It was 20 years ago when a young, charismatic and charming 18-year-old left world cricket surprised. Yuvraj made his breakthrough in the Indian squad for the 2000 ICC Knockout Trophy owing to his impressive performances for the Under-19 team. With a fearless approach, gorgeous bat-swing and immense hitting ability, Yuvraj was slowly capturing hearts of cricket fans.
A few people in Indian cricket were as blessed and talented as Yuvraj Singh was. With his unique high backlift and gift of strokeplay, he used to collect boundaries with amazing ease. Yuvi, as he is often called, always delivered whenever the captain needed him to. He also took many important wickets at crucial times for the team and so was considered an important asset for the Indian Cricket Team. Yuvi was always the one whom the captain can rely on be it with the bat or also with the ball. Yuvi always gave India the confidence to chase big totals or set up big targets. He was one of those rare players who did not get affected by the fact whether it was an off-spinner bowling, or a leg-spinner. He had the belief and the skill to do the job he needed to. He was also one of the athletic players in the Indian Team, fielding primarily at point and covers with a good aim at the stumps. One of the main reasons Yuvi started playing cricket was his father Yograj Singh. Yograj Singh was a former Indian cricketer who played only 1 test and 6 ODI’s as a right arm fast medium bowler. He was considered to be one of the fastest Indian bowler at his time. “He’s always been like a dragon to me. He never appreciated me playing any other sport which always scarred me when I was a young kid. He always wanted me to play cricket and fulfil his dream of becoming a cricketer” revealed Yuvraj emotionally during his retirement speech.
He is one of the only 5 Indians to have played over 300 ODIs and therefore, was a regular member of the Indian side for over a decade. Also he is the only player to score over 300 runs and pick 15 wickets in the same tournament and achieved this feat in the 2011 World Cup. So, his handy bowling must not be underrated as it helped him bag 111 ODI wickets. He also won 2 Indian Premier League (IPL) Trophies, one with Sunrisers Hyderabad in 2016 and the other with Mumbai Indians in 2019. When sledged and challenged, who can forget his six sixes against England’s Stuart Broad?!!
As every player has highs and lows, Yuvi had them too. The highs in his cricketing career was winning the 2002 Natwest Series against England in England, winning the 2007 Twenty 20 World Cup and also winning the 2011 World Cup. He won the Man of the Tournament award in the 2011 World Cup where he scored 362 runs and took 15 wickets. His major low was the 2014 World T20 Final against Sri Lanka where he scored 11 runs off 22 balls and was blamed for India’s defeat. Yuvi was a big Manchester United fan. He loved seeing players like Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and Cristiano Ronaldo play for the Red Devils. Yuvi married Hazel Keech on 30th November 2016. Hazel is a British−Mauritian film actress and model who has appeared in Indian television programs and films.
So much of India’s ODI success is credited to Yuvraj Singh and he deserves every bit of it. Yuvi was a man of high spirits and always had a mantra of “Never Give Up.” After an illustrious career that spanned almost 2 decades, Yuvi announced retirement on 10th June 2019. He is a legend and deserves all his accolades as he was a giant of the One-Day game.
Achievements and Honours
- In a 2007 ICC T20 World Cup match against England, he hit six sixes in a single over of Stuart Broad. He also holds a record of scoring fastest T20 fifty by scoring it in 12 balls in the same match against England.
- He was the Man of the Tournament in the 2011 ICC Cricket World Cup.
- He was awarded with the Arjuna Award (India’s second highest sporting award) in 2012 by the President of India
- In 2014, he was awarded with the Padma Shri Award
- In February 2014, he was honoured with FICCI Most Inspiring Sportsperson of the Year Award.
Yuvi was signed by Microsoft to be the brand ambassador for the Xbox 360 video game console in 2006. Codemaster’s cricket video game ‘Brian Lara International Cricket 2007’ was released with his endorsement in India titled ‘Yuvraj Singh International Cricket 2007‘.
Yuvi has also been involved in Sports based E-Commerce. He is a brand ambassador of sports365.in, an online store focussed on selling sports goods and fitness equipment. He is also the brand ambassador for the Sports Brand Puma. He was also appointed brand ambassador of’Ulysse Nardin‘watch in 2013. He has also endorsed brands like Pepsi, Reebok, Birla Sun Life, Royal Mega Stag, Whirlpool, Revital, Cadbury and LG in the past.
Cancer Diagnosis and Comeback
Right after the 2011 World Cup Victory, Indian Cricketer Yuvraj Singh was diagnosed with a cancerous tumour in his left lung, which was confirmed to be Seminoma Lung Cancer.He proceeded to undergo chemotherapy treatment in Boston and Indianapolis, and was discharged in March 2012 after his third and final cycle of Chemotherapy. He returned to India in April 2012. Yuvi always considered his mother as his inspiration. Mumma’s Boy Yuvi always had his mother by his side throughout his Cancer Treatment in the US. He always had his mother’s back in his tough times.
Cancer, one of the most common disease in the world right now, was once considered as a deadly disease whose name shakes the person from head to toe, but Yuvi chose to battle it out.“When you hear the word cancer for the first time, you really get scared. Cancer. It’s like a death sentence. You become really unsure where your life will take you” said Yuvraj. Yuvi realized fairly soon, that the only option ahead of him if he ever wanted to play cricket again, was to receive effective cancer treatment. He got started on multiple rounds of chemotherapy and flew to Boston and Indianapolis in 2012, to meet the doctors who had previously treated former cyclist Lance Armstrong.
“The side effects of chemo made me reel on my knees some days. But I was determined to come back and play for my country. That’s the one thing which always motivated me” said Yuvi in one of his interviews. Yes, our hero was inspired by Lance Armstrong who has made many records in his career as well and was also diagnosed with the same kind of tumour in 1996. He was treated with tumour and despite that, he began his career again. Yuvraj has also been treated by the same doctor. During his time in the U.S, he used to read the autobiography of Lance Armstrong for motivation and to get his treatment done perfectly.
We need to remember Yuvraj’s biggest takeaway, “When it comes to cancer, the only choice we have is to get up.” Finally after 3 intensive chemotherapy sessions from February 2012 to March 2012, Yuvi triumphed Cancer and returned to India in April 2012 eager to get back into his grooves i.e playing cricket for India again! Yuvi made a comeback for India on September 2012 in a 20-20 match against New Zealand. He even scored his career best One Day score of 150 runs against England in Cuttack in January 2017.
Charity and Autobiography
Yuvi after his Cancer comeback started his own charity, YouWeCan (YWC) and has treated over hundreds of cancer patients. In April 2015, he announced the intention to invest INR 40–50 crores in online startups, expanding the YouWeCan proposition by setting up YouWeCan Ventures in order to do so. In 2015, YouWeCan also initiated the nationwide cancer awareness in association with Jayakrishnan, the founder of Heyyo Media. The campaign took cancer awareness to many students across the country. The main Motto of YWC is “ Live, Dare, Inspire.”
“YWC is built around the ethos – Live, Dare and Inspire – and aims to motivate individuals to fight against insurmountable odds, have courage and make fighters out of all of us” said Yuvi in an Interview.
The charity also launched a sports lifestyle brand that offers premium apparel of the finest quality. “YWC is an athleisure wear brand offering premium apparel of the finest quality exuding the personality of our founder – Yuvraj Singh. The idea behind YWC is to link it back to the YouWeCan Foundation for cancer awareness and prevention. The idea was to make the foundations work financial independent and self sustaining. Hence YWC-clothing brand supports the foundation actively with sales revenue going directly to the foundation. The other aspect of the business model right from the launch was to make it a viable fashion retail brand ” said Shazmeen Kara who is the Founder & CEO and overall brand head for YWC (an initiative by Yuvraj Singh).
The book “The Test of My Life: From Cricket to Cancer and Back” is an autobiography of Yuvraj Singh which was released on 19th March 2013. The book has the history of Yuvi’s life. Yuvi described the Ups and Downs he faced in his career and how he comes out of stronger from his toughest days! Do read this book for getting more inspiration. I personally got tears in my eyes while reading, it will surely inspire you too!
Lessons for Us
“When life knocks down you have a choice — to get up. So I thought to myself, ‘get up and do it again.” – Yuvraj Singh
In life you have 2 options – either accept the defeat and be upset or stand up and keep fighting till the time you win and winning does not mean reaching the top it means to live the life you wanted to live. It’s a choice you need to make – either Live or Leave. So Dream big and don’t stop until you achieve it!