Hello and welcome once again to DRS, my very own personal space where we talk matters cricketing. This week has been a bit of an emotional roller-coaster when it comes to the world of cricket. That moment in Chennai when Yuvraj Singh walked out to first field and bowl, and then to bat in that Twenty20 international, was one of those moments where the heart, at the end of the day, skipped a beat.
Sports is about romance; and what can be more romantic than the idea of someone who has suffered from cancer, and then appears to have conquered it, and then come on the cricket field to show that he is still around? To watch Yuvraj Singh in Chennai was truly an uplifting moment. It was a moment when the emotional quotient mattered more than anything else. Yes, India lost the match by one run. But, in a sense, Yuvraj Singh certainly won.
He took a catch; he bowled his overs tidily; he hit two sixes; and there were glimpses of the Yuvraj of old. Yes, he appeared breathless at times while he was taking those singles, and it's clear that he is only 75 percent fit. But as Sanjay Manjrekar on my show the other day said, even a 75 percent fit Yuvraj is an asset in the Twenty20 game. He has got that explosive X-factor that you need in Twenty20 cricket. So one is truly delighted for Yuvraj Singh; at the same time one feels that sentiment alone cannot run this game.
Yes, we are delighted that Yuvraj is back on the cricket field. But in the end Yuvraj will have to be analysed and weighed by the sheer weight of runs and the wickets he takes. He can't eventually win our hearts and our heads only because of his tremendous fight against cancer. He has become a symbol of that fight, but on the cricket field a time will come when he will be judged purely by what he does on the cricket field. But for now, we should simply rejoice in the idea that an Indian cricketer has come out there, hasn't hidden his battle with cancer; in fact he has made it a public issue.
And that’s what the great thing about Yuvraj Singh is at the moment: that he has worn the cancer on his sleeves almost, as if telling the world – look, I have suffered cancer, but I’m going to conquer it. In a country where too many people are weighed down, and almost traumatised by the idea of suffering from cancer, I think Yuvraj has sent out an important message that cancer is not an insurmountable disease. It is something that can be conquered. It can happen to any of us; to the greatest of sportsmen like him, but it can be conquered.
Yes, Yuvraj perhaps had the money to go and get the best treatment, but hopefully his foundation will work towards sensitising people, and towards also providing care and rehabilitation for hundreds of cancer victims across the country. In that sense Yuvraj's role today is not just of a cricketer, it extends beyond the boundary. He will be judged on cricketing terms by what he does on the field; but as a human being I think Yuvraj has passed that test of life. There can't be any bigger test for any human being than the test of life. It's a test that Yuvraj has clearly conquered.