Monday, April 16, 2012

Yuvraj Singh: Born again

Yuvraj Singh: Born again

Call it a new way of branding to stay afloat in the time of crisis or the dawn of a new era in India where the most recognisable faces (read cricketers) have learned to the tread the Twitter path to keep their followers informed about every aspect of their lives.

On his return from the US where he underwent three cycles of chemotherapy, Yuvraj Singh has been hailed as the new braveheart not just by his fans across the country but also by the entire media. An obvious question also being raised by many is: why is he risking his health for the sake of publicity?

Yuvraj was tweeting about his health and posting photographs of each and every stage of his medical progress, a first by any Indian sportsperson.

India’s World Cup hero hardly needed any publicity to keep his brand value intact. So what compelled him do all this? Well, the batsman says he “wanted to put to rest all speculation about his health issues”.

“The moment the news of my illness became public, there was all kind of speculation. I thought it was important to let my fans know about my condition and also not allow people to cook up stories,” Yuvraj said on Wednesday, during his first media interaction after returning home.

One thing’s for sure, though. Yuvraj has emerged as a more mature and responsible person after his treatment and he could, perhaps, become a great crusader for cancer awareness in this country. “Maybe I would like to do something for all cancer patients. I know their pain because I have gone through it. But right now, my focus is to get back to fitness as early as possible,” Yuvraj said. He spoke candidly for an hour about his two-month stay in the US. He also revealed how he avoided watching cricket on television and was inspired by the practical approach of fellow chemotherapy patients, a group he called “the cancer family”.

Yuvraj confessed that he was in denial. “I could hardly believe that a fit person like me could actually have cancer. I concealed my ill-health for a long time even while having breathing problems during the World Cup. I had always presented a cheerful front to the outer world during that time.”

Yuvi also thanked Sachin Tendulkar for his encouraging words during their meeting in London. “Sachin has always inspired me. He always talks positively and motivated me during my difficult times,” Yuvi said.

On his future plans, Yuvraj says that it would be difficult for him to say anything at this point of time. “I don’t know what the future holds. It will be a great achievement if I get back to the field,” the 30-year-old said, adding, “the cancer is out of my system, but the scars are yet to be healed. All my fans want me to come back soon, I am sure you people will understand that my body will take time.”

Yuvraj also spoke about the inspiration he drew from legendary American cyclist Lance Armstrong, who survived testicular cancer. “I read Lance Armstrong’s book some five-six years back but had to leave it midway for some reasons. I didn’t know that I will have to complete it in the way and circumstances like I did,” he said.

No time frame, no ambitions and no real pressure to get back on the field. All Yuvraj needs to do is eat well, sleep well and, of course, breathe fresh air. And his fans should also try and understand his emotions. His playboy image is a thing of the past. Though he insists that he would always be the same — honest and flamboyant — but only time will now tell how ‘Brand Yuvraj’ would fare in the near future.

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