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Interviewed | December 2016
My biggest motivation to get out of cancer was to represent India again and I was determined to work hard to be on the field.
There’s a common trait between all the people who have won at life – they’re real, persistent and determined to write their own destinies. It’s not a hidden fact that Yuvraj Singh is one of those people – a perfect example of someone who hit each curve ball thrown at him right out of the park. In his biography, The Test of My Life, Yuvraj Singh has put out a genuine account of his life, problems, overcoming them and facing them like a champion. But we couldn’t resist knowing more about it as we sat down in a candid conversation to uncover some more reasons of why Yuvraj Singh is the undefeated champion.
Ex: Defeating something as serious as cancer and yet ruling the cricket ground, what a comeback Yuvraj! Tell us how tough was it to prove yourself once again?
Yuvraj Singh: It has been a tough journey. When you recover from a disease like cancer, it does not just affect that one part of your body but it affects the entire body. Chemo is the most painful treatment and it not only kills the bad cells but also the good cells. So your body needs to replenish those as well.
My biggest motivation to get out of cancer was to represent India again and I was determined to work hard to be on the field. After my illness I needed to take extra care of my diet, sleep, exercise regime etc. It was tough but the motivation to play for my country kept me going.
Ex: How have things changed in cricket since your debut match in 2000? What role does technology play in the changes you see?
YS: The game of cricket has evolved to a great extent over the last decade. When I made my debut in 2000, only two formats of cricket were known – Tests and One-day internationals. With the advent of T20 cricket, the game has become fast-paced and more and more people are watching cricket now.
The success of IPL and other T20 leagues around the world has made cricket a popular entertainment option too. Technology has improved vastly over time as well, and now we can see hawkeye slo-mo replays, hotspots, spidercams, on-field mics etc being used more often. I guess, it would only go for the betterment towards cricket as far as technology is concerned.
Ex: Six consecutive sixes would always remain special to all Indian cricket fans. Would you like to share the memories? It’s eternally stitched to the minds of the nation, anyway!
YS: Yes, definitely one of the best moments in my cricket career. Something I will always cherish and I am sure the fans loved and enjoyed it to the fullest and still do when they watch the six sixes moment. It was nothing that something that I had planned nor did I realize that I had created the world record until the end of the over.
Ex: How techie are you on a level of 1-5? What all gizmos do you personally own, other than your smartphone and laptop?
YS: I would give myself 4 out of 5. I am mostly updated with the new gizmos in the market. Pretty much most of them…iPad, latest headphones, Blu-ray…the list is a long one.
Ex: When asked to pick a gadget, what’s the first criterion you have in your mind?
YS: Well, it should be user friendly and should look good.
Ex: You are extremely popular in social media. Are you hooked to any apps (other than Instagram) in particular?
YS: Not really. I keep on experimenting with several latest apps that I come to know about. Once I have tried and tested it, I uninstall it. But I don’t get hooked on any in particular.
Ex: What’s your way of fitness regime- fitness bands, an instructor or both?
YS: I work out 5 days a week. And I strictly maintain a healthy and balanced diet.
Ex: If not cricket, what else would Yuvraj have been exceling at?
YS: If not cricket, some other sports probably. But definitely in something athletic.
Ex: What awaits in your life after retirement from cricket?
YS: At this point I am not even thinking about retirement. All my attention is focused on getting back in the team and playing for India. But after or whenever, I take a break from cricket all my attention will be focused on my newly launched brand YWC and my NGO YOUWECAN.
Ex: Tell us briefly about YouWeCan Foundation and the inspiration behind it.
YS: YouWeCan Foundation, is a non-profit charitable organization, an NGO started by me in 2012 under the Bombay Trust Act 1950. Being diagnosed with cancer myself and emerging as a fighter, I wanted to draw inspiration from the Livestrong Foundation in the USA after his fight against cancer. Back home I started with active steps towards creating consciousness on cancer prevention, early detection & fight against stigma.
YouWeCan Foundation endeavours to help cancer patients and survivors get access to the right treatment and also supports them in creating a better life for themselves without having to live in the shackles of the disease. The main focus is to educate masses so that nobody fights cancer alone, and towards creating awareness and eradicating socio-psychological stigma attached with cancer.
YouWeCan Foundation provides mobile cancer examination stations within the reach of masses with a view to make routine check- ups a habit.The YouWeCan Foundation propagates my life philosophy of Live, Dare and Inspire and to come together in unity in the fight against cancer.
Ex: Tell us about the clothing line started by you recently.
YS: Yes, my clothing line, a home-grown lifestyle fashion brand,YWC is not just about fashion. It is fashion with a conscience. The YWC label, in harmony with modern silhouettes, offers a unique blend of futuristic designs, chic fabrics and attitude amalgamated in one perfect collection.
Ex: Would you like to share some memorable and fun moments in cricket with the team?
YS: One of the humorous moments has been with the Indian Team at Lords during the Natwest Series when we pulled a prank on Sourav Ganguly. We printed a fake statement on paper stating some decision made by him against us. It was a prank and Dada got very angry and emotional.Also, the victory at the 2007 T20 World Cup and winning the title in 2011 are some memories that are close to my heart.
Ex: Your ideas and views on collaboration with start-ups? Any plans to go for one in the future?
YS: It will always be my vision to collaborate with like-minded people and brands and create unique offerings, not just material but offerings which add value to everyday lives. So yes, I would consider some worthwhile collaborations in future as well.
Ex: Through Youwecan ventures and your support to startups, which are the startups you are currently mentoring and if you have to single out one, which one would that be?
YS: It would be my NGO YouWeCan, it’s been my baby from the start, it’s a lot of blood and sweat plus emotionally I am very attached to it, as I feel for the cause.
Ex: We also curate Exhibit Hottest 100 startups. If anyone has to pitch you, what would excite you? And, what are the areas that you are willing to bet on?
YS: It should be with great potential and something that makes a difference to the society for good.
Ex: Lastly – Do we see a film on celluloid – ‘How Yuvi did it’ or ‘The real Yuvi Story’?
YS: No such plans, not at least at this point… maybe a little later.
Yuvraj singH – up and close!
- Yuvi as a friend:
Honest and extremely supportive, reliable and protective.
- Yuvi is a Punjabi, yet has to control his diet. Difficult?
Extremely difficult *giggles*
- Yuvi’s favorite captain (India):
Sourav Ganguly, undoubtedly
- Biggest mistake Yuvi made in cricket:
I have no regrets in life
- Biggest support in life:
My Mother and Guruji