Mumbai: There is more to Indian cricketer Yuvraj Singh’s comeback to the world of sports than what meets the eye.
The 35-year-old was diagnosed with lung cancer back in 2011, when he was at the peak of his career after playing pivotal role in India’s World Cup 2011 triumph. The southpaw went on to fight the life-threatening disease, which went into remission, as he made his comeback a year later.
Speaking about his days fighting cancer, Yuvraj said that it was difficult for him to come to terms with his disease.
“It was hard to come to terms with it that suddenly when you are at the peak of your career, you were diagnosed with such a disease,” Yuvraj said to Hindustan Times.
“It was a long and tough journey but now when I look back, it was a big learning lesson in my life,” he said. “I’m a changed person. Earlier everything was about cricket and now, I look forward to life.”
Speaking about what it took for him to get himself back into shape for making a comeback into the side, Yuvraj revealed that it took him around two years to get back into proper fitness.
“I was in pain initially. Your body becomes slow and heavy and you feel that it’s not going to react,” said Yuvraj. “But slowly and steadily, things change. It took me over two years to get my body back in shape.
“For fitness, I had to work extra hours and change my diet completely. Ageing makes things harder. But with more recovery on the body and more sleeping hours, I made huge changes in my lifestyle,” he said.
The 35-year-old believes that cancer survivors have to face a lot of unjustified social stigma, despite recovering from their disease.
“This stigma of cancer is only when you don’t know what you’re going through. If you have the right doctors and treatment, you can beat cancer,” he said.
The main stigma surrounding cancer survivors is that they find it difficult to get married. Yuvraj, who got married to actor Hazel Keech towards the end of last year, believes that the “lack of education” about cancer is something that gives rise to such stigma.
“Also, there’s lack of education and people feel if someone has had cancer, it might come back and that’s the reason why a lot of people don’t get married to a cancer patient or survivor,” he said. “I think I’ve been an example of coming back and being hard and healthy and getting married to someone who has believed in me as a person who’s been a pillar of strength.
“So people who actually come out of it are stronger in life because of the journey they have been through, and they can be actually a better life partner than you can ask for,” Yuvraj concluded.