Dubai: India’s star all-rounder Yuvraj Singh hit all those who doubted whether he would be back to his best for the forthcoming Twenty20 World Cup for a six, as powerfully as he hit a six during the course of his knock of 34 runs against New Zealand in a Twenty20 match at Chennai on Tuesday night.
Singh, who has battled cancer and made his first international appearance for 10 months, lived up to his trait of being a fierce fighter. It was thanks largely to his sterling performances that India won the 2007 Twenty20 World Cup in South Africa and also the One-Day, 50-over World Cup in 2011.
When Singh is on song, India’s opponents find it hard to win. It is due to such quality that the Indian selectors decided to pick him for the team again despite his recovery from a serious illness that almost ended his cricketing career.
When Singh visited Dubai recently, in an answer to a question from Gulf News about his fighting spirit, he said: “Fight until you die. That should be the spirit.”
The Twenty20 World Cup, which begins in Sri Lanka on Tuesday, would have been poorer had Singh not been one part of the tournament. He is the one who enthralled the fans in the 2007 edition of the Twenty20 World Cup with six sixers off six balls in one over from England’s Stuart Broad. During the course of that innings he recorded the fastest half-century in Twenty20 history off just 12 balls.
Singh was also India’s leading run-getter at the 2009 Twenty20 World Cup, with 153 runs at a whopping strike rate of 154.54. The beauty of Singh’s approach to the game is very clear in his candid comment: “As long as I am performing at my best, I am never worried.”
In fact, Singh in full flow is a worry for all his opponents. His comeback is now being seen as an inspiring story for millions of cancer patients. He is also being compared to Lance Armstrong, the American cyclist who returned to achieve success after battling cancer.
Singh’s last international appearance before the Tuesday match in Chennai was in November 2011. It is no surprise that he admitted that tears filled his eyes when he was fielding on Tuesday.
Singh has all the qualities that make him a fine Twenty20 player. He can bat aggressively, field brilliantly and bowl tightly with his left-arm spin.
Once during a conversation with him, I asked Singh about his goal. His answer was: “I have stopped having goals. If you have goals and if you don’t reach your goals, then it is very upsetting. I always try my best to be at my best. It is not because I want to be at my best, but my team needs me to be at my best.”
Singh’s biggest inspiration is now his fans. The reception he has received for his comeback has been tremendous and many suppoters are rooting for him to get a huge score.
“I am thankful to God that I have got my life back and I am thankful to the people of my country. Such phases are part and parcel of everyone’s life but I am thankful to everybody,” he said.
If there is one cricketer that everyone wants to shine during the World Cup, it is Singh. He personifies the spirit of the game and can prove that those who dare can achieve success.