India's flamboyant batsman Yuvraj Singh, who is currently undergoing chemotherapy in the US for germ-cell cancer, is the latest to join the club of cancer-stricken cricketers. Some have recovered completely and staged a comeback, which definitely is an inspiration by itself.
The 30-year-old left-hander was diagnosed with cancer on Sunday (Feb 5, 2012) while he was detected with non-malignant tumour in the left lung in 2011. It was later confirmed that Yuvraj has been diagnosed with germ-cell cancer, which is relatively rare, as the tumour is found between the lungs and is completely curable as it is still in its initial phase.
Many cricket players have been affected by cancer at a very young age and Yuvraj is the latest to join the list, who have battled with the deadly disease. Among the cricketers who were afflicted with cancer are Australia's skipper Michael Clarke, South Africa's batsman Dave Callaghan, Indian all-rounder Jai Prakash Yadav, former Zimbabwean captain and current England coach Andy Flower, West Indies' all-rounder Bernard Julien and Simon O'Donnell of Australia.
Yuvraj, a born fighter can definitely stage a comeback, as he has that fighting spirit and since the doctors have also assured him that the disease is 'curable'. Moreover, he has been inspired and motivated by Lance Armstrong's autobiography - "It's not about the bike- My journey back to life."
He can draw inspiration from the above cricketers who have fought back after having afflicted with cancer. These cricketers have given a tough fight before emerging triumphant.
Starting with the current player, Australia's skipper Clarke was operated to remove three skin cancers from his nose and lips. He noticed a small irregular spot on his nose, without further delaying the process, he took up the Australian Cricketers' Association's offer for a free skin screening, while the scans revealed a "low-grade skin cancer".
Indian all-rounder Jai Prakash Yadav was detected with a tumour above his heart in the year 2000, after which he underwent three rounds of chemotheraphy, lost 15 kilos and continued his fight against cancer.
A braveheart, JP, who was determined to stage a comeback, played for Madhya Pradesh within a month of his third round of treatment. After recovering completely, he became a prolific player for Railways to score over 7,000 runs in first class cricket and also took nearly 300 wickets.
If this story isn't enough, South Africa's Dave Callaghan, who was diagnosed with testicular cancer in September 1991, was unable to play the World Cup in 1992. He successfully staged a comeback scoring an unbeaten 169, (a record by any South African at the time) in a One-Day international in December 1994. He celebrated 20 years of survival after fighting cancer in the year 2011.
Similarly, England's opening batsman, the great Sir Geoff Boycott had also developed cancer tissues over his neck in the year 2002, but fortunately, they were detected in the initial stages. He was diagnosed with throat cancer the same year. Reports revealed that he had four cancerous tumours close to his voice box. After undergoing 35 sessions of radiotherapy he recovered completely.
Former West Indies' Test player Bernard Julien is battling throat cancer too. Another cricketer Ashley Noffke, who played for Australia in 2007-08, accidentally came to know he had skin cancer after he went for medication for an injured hip. A harmless mole happened to be the reason for Grade Three melanoma, most lethal form of skin cancer. And immediately helped him recover soon.
Zimbabwe's batsman Andy Flower, currently coaching England also had melanoma under his right eye. England team's security advisor Reg Dickinson, brought this to his notice, after which the cricketer got its growth checked immediately and got it treated. The advisor's observation indeed saved Andy Flower's life.
Simon O'Donnell, represented Australia in the 1987 World Cup which was eventually won by Australia, but soon after the tournament, he suffered severe pain which was later diagnosed as non-Hodgkin lymphoma. He got it treated and fought back as he represented the One day team in the 1988-89 season.
Many more cricketers have staged a comeback, this one is definitely another inspiring story. English cricketer John Edrich, one of the finest and the most courageous persons, was diagnosed with incurable luekaemia in 2000, as he was told he has seven years more to live after being affected with a rare kind of cancer.
He was appointed as the coach of England in 1995. He is still battling luekaemia which shows his courage.
"I hadn't seen a doctor for about 10 years, but I'd been feeling tired for a while. Having taken blood tests they discovered leukemia. It was quite a shock. You can't fight it. You have to have faith in your consultant and the treatment. I asked how it was going to affect my lifestyle. They said I would feel tired from time to time and would have to live with it. I think we've got to be grateful for what we've had. I did something which I loved and had the ability to play cricket at the highest level," Edrich had said.
While a few of them were unfortunate to have succumbed to this deadly disease which include big names like umpire David Shepherd, England's legendary fast bowlers Fred Trueman (lung cancer) and Brian Statham (leukaemia), Indian wicket-keeper batsman Budhi Kunderan (lung cancer), New Zealander Ken Wadsworth (skin cancer- died at an age of 29) and others.
There are plenty of inspirational comebacks from cricketers which can definitely motivate Yuvraj Singh and inspire him to bounce back into the Indian cricket team in style.
Here's wishing the talented batsman a speedy recovery as the entire nation is offering prayers and wishes as they await to see him back on the cricket field.