Yuvraj Singh: From testing times to Test return
He is back where he had left last year - Test cricket. After thumping life threatening cancer, Yuvraj Singh will be seen in Whites when India play england in the first Test on November 15 in Ahmedabad. And the selectors' decision is not an emotional or a sympathetic one. He has made it to the squad purely on merit.
He is back where he had left last year - Test cricket. After thumping life threatening cancer, Yuvraj Singh will be seen in Whites when India play England in the first Test on November 15 in Ahmedabad. And the selectors' decision is not an emotional or a sympathetic one. He has made it to the squad purely on merit.
He last played a Test against the West Indies in 2011. He was then diagnosed with a lung tumour, which later turned out to be a rare germ-cell cancer.
He went to Boston, USA, in January where he underwent treatment for the malignant tumour. After taking the treatment, which included three sessions of chemotherapy, Yuvraj returned home in April.
He worked really hard and within six months after his return, Yuvraj was back on the cricket field. He was called in for the two T20s against New Zealand and the ICC World T20. Many called his return a hasty one, but he was welcomed with open arms nonetheless. Yuvraj did not disappoint and came up with impressive performance in the World T20.
And when experts, including captain MS Dhoni opined over his physical ability to play Test cricket, Yuvraj answered with a double century in a Duleep Trophy match. He backed it up with a half-century and a five-wicket haul in the first warm-up match against England.
While the Champion All-rounder pads up for his Test return, we take a quick look at his journey so far...
Born to a Jatt Sikh family, he was born to Yograj Singh - former India pace bowler - and Shabnam Singh on 12 December 1981.
Yuvraj was inclined towards sports from his early days. In fact, he won medals in skating in his adolescent years but his father wanted him to take up cricket instead.
So it was a result of a determined father and eventually, a genuine liking for the sport that Yuvraj made his first class debut in 1996. He had already begun carrying his kitbags and leading the hard life of a struggling cricket aspirant.
Yuvraj first came to the attention of people who mattered when he captained the U-19 team of Punjab in the final of Cooch Bihar Trophy against Bihar. He scored 258 in the match. He was selected for the U-19 World Cup in Sri Lanka.
The year 2000 presented Yuvraj with the biggest opportunity of his life. He was selected for the first intake of the National Cricket Academy and in the same year, made his ODI debut for India against Kenya.
The south-paw's talent was showcased in his second ODI against then World Champions Australia. He smashed 84 off 80 with 12 boundaries. India managed to score 265 and win the match by 20 runs.
There was a dip in form towards the end of the year. He was left out of the ODI squad for the series against Australia but he returned to strike a brash 98 against Sri Lanka in late 2001.
2002 continues to be best remembered for Yuvraj' stunning knock with Mohammad Kaif that gave India a win against England in the Natwest Series. He hit 69 off 63 to help Kaif (87) take India to a win from a rather impossible situation of 146/5 chasing 325.
Yuvraj's Test debut came in the 2003. It was at his home ground in Mohali against New Zealand. He scored 20 and 5* but the match ended in a draw.
Injuries too, have taken a toll on him since his early playing days. Here he is seen being carried off the field by Virender Sehwag and L Balaji during a match against Australia at Wankhede in 2003.
A freak injury during a game of Kho-kho during the 2006 edition of ICC Champions Trophy also got him some undesired rest.
Yuvraj fought it out however and made his chances in the national team count more often than not. He was named man-of-the-series in three consecutive series' against South Africa, Pakistan and England, in late 2005-early 2006 - the era of Sourav vs Chappell.
The attacking left-hander by now had also become a regular option as a part-time bowler. His slow spin invited many to step out and hit him but some paid the ultimate price. Dimitri Mascarenhas was an exception when he took 30 runs off a single Yuvraj over in 2007.
Yuvraj's reply though, was better and remembered more passionately. Stuart Broad of England had no idea what hit him though he got struck six times in six balls. Yuvraj re-emphasized that he was a knock-out player.
In 2011, Yuvraj shrugged his poor form and powered his team to the World Cup title win. He was adjudged the Man of the Tournament. Little did he know then that he was staring at the biggest battle of his life. But as they say All's Well That Ends Well!