In hindsight, the red flags were evident. The violent bouts of “coughing and vomiting” witnessed by Virender Sehwag. The stash of medicines that Virat Kohli saw in Yuvraj’s room after India beat the West Indies.
Cricketer MS Dhoni and Indian team coach Duncan Fletcher at the book launch of Yuvraj Singh in New Delhi. Photo by Virendra Singh Gosain/Hindustan Times
But a lack of appetite and energy — telltale signs, often, of some
serious ailment — were first noticed by Sachin Tendulkar on the eve of a momentous campaign.
“He was low,” the iconic batsman recalls of February 17, 2011, in Dhaka. Having invited the southpaw to his room for dinner, Tendulkar realised “it had more to do with his mind.”
Dinner with Sachin
April 2012, London. A year after India won the World Cup, Tendulkar realised that all was once again well. On his way back from Indianapolis, USA, Yuvraj met his senior India teammate for dinner.
“The way he ate,” reminisces Tendulkar, “I was convinced he was back on track!”
Food and the duo go back further. Long before he burst onto the scene, Yuvraj was an awestruck “ball-boy in the (Indian) dressing room”.
Tendulkar has no recollection whatsoever of telling the young Punjabi: “Excuse me, zara aap biscuit paas karna.”
These anecdotes are revealed in 'The Test of my Life', Yuvraj's memoirs released in New Delhi on Tuesday.
Co-authored by his manager and a journalist, the book claims to chronicle his cricket career, the Cup and cancer.
The timing of the launch --- a day after Team India took a big step towards fading the public's memory --- couldn't be more apt.
And the Monday was memorable for Yuvraj in more ways than one. Sure, he wasn't in the thick of things, but the emphatic sealing of the series had happened on the turf he calls home.
But more than that, it was exactly one year to the day the battle against what a Pulitzer-winning oncologist refers to as the 'emperor of all maladies' had been officially won.