After winning his battle against a rare germ cell cancer, India’s World Cup hero Yuvraj Singh would be the cynosure of all eyes when he starts his journey back to international cricket with the first Twenty20 match against New Zealand on Saturday.
Yuvraj was diagnosed with the ailment between his lungs within months of winning the Man of the Tournament award in the 2011 World Cup.
His career looked in jeopardy when the diagnosis was first revealed but the flamboyant all-rounder fought back after undergoing three cycles of chemotherapy.
The 30-year-old left-hander has been training hard at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bangalore and would be looking to make a statement when he returns to the cricket field in Saturday’s match.
It is something that has never happened on the cricket field and Yuvraj will go on to inspire generations when he wears the Indian colours again after more than nine months.
Behind all the limelight he hogged after he returned home, Yuvraj put in hours sweating out at the NCA to regain the fitness and agility, for which he was known for.
Whether he would make a stupendous comeback on his return on Saturday or not but the fact that he beat cancer will now be a part of cricketing folklore.
“I had played three practice games at NCA. I will get some serious match practice in the two matches against New Zealand scheduled September 8 and 11,” he said.
“Then, I would be playing two more practice matches. So, you see, I will be having seven games before the World Cup. I will be having enough match practice,” he added.
His last International appearance was the Kolkata Test against the West Indies in November last year, while it was more than a year ago when he last played a T20 (against South Africa on January 9, 2011).
The two T20s against New Zealand will start India’s countdown for the fourth edition the World Twenty20 that will get underway in Sri Lanka on September 18.
Doug Bracewell and Tim Southee are the Kiwis pace spearhead while 20-year-old Adam Milne will look to impress with his searing pace for the first time in sub-continental conditions.
Sun has been shining bright after last few days of bad weather and the Visakhapatnam T20 is set to enthral the cricket-starved crowd of this coastal port city of Andhra Pradesh.
The second and final T20I is slated in Chennai on September 11. (PTI)
India: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (c), Gautam Gambhir, Virender Sehwag, Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Yuvraj Singh, Suresh Raina, Irfan Pathan, Harbhajan Singh, Ravichandran Ashwin, Zaheer Khan, Laxmipathy Balaji, Ashok Dinda, Piyush Chawla and Manoj Tiwary.
New Zealand: Ross Taylor (c), Brendon McCullum (wk), Martin Guptill, Kane Williamson, James Franklin, Rob Nicol, Jacob Oram, Doug Bracewell, Daniel Vettori, Tim Southee, Adam Milne, Nathan McCullum, Ronnie Hira, Kyle Mills and BJ Watling.
Field Umpires: S Ravi and Sudhir Asnani; TV Umpire: Vineet Kulkarni; Fourth Umpire: C Shamshuddin;
Match Referee: Chris Broad.
Time: 1900 (IST)