Calcutta: Deeply touched by Hanif Mohammed’s affection and the sentiments expressed by him, via The Telegraph, Yuvraj Singh has reciprocated warmly.
Tension on the border could be high and the politicians on both sides may be eyeing each other with suspicion, but there’s certainly respect and more among the cricketers.
That came through, on successive days, when Yuvraj wished the former Pakistan captain and Asia’s first triple centurion in Test cricket a speedy recovery.
Hanif (78) is undergoing adjuvant chemotherapy in London, two months after a cancer-related surgery, which was performed there itself.
Yuvraj himself underwent chemotherapy for about two-and-a-half months in Indianapolis early last year for a tumour which was “sitting” on his heart.
As it turned out, Yuvraj had to be off big-time cricket for 10 months.
Having beaten heavy odds, Yuvraj is today seen as the face of cancer in India and the Foundation which bears his name has started YouWeCan, largely aimed at spreading awareness.
A lack of awareness and the stigma attached to cancer are, for Yuvraj, the top challenges to overcome in India.
Experts don’t see it any differently.
Moved by what Hanif said in the report (‘Yuvraj is a true fighter: Hanif’) published in these columns on Sunday, Yuvraj sent two rather emotional SMSes to this Reporter.
The SMSes read: “It’s an honour to be compared to Sir Garry Sobers by a legend like Hanifbhai... I remember meeting him in Karachi (during the 2008 Asia Cup) and thanking him for his comments at an awards function there...
“That Hanifbhai, too, got diagnosed with cancer has bonded us together in a different way as well... This bond goes beyond cricket and is special...
“I’ve heard that Hanifbhai had a solid technique and defence and was mentally tough... I’m sure he’ll remain as tough during the chemotherapy cycles...
“My good wishes and prayers are with Hanifbhai for a quick and complete recovery... If YouWeCan (Yuvi can), so will you, Hanifbhai!”
Hanif completes his first cycle of chemotherapy on Monday. If all goes well, he’ll leave for home a few days later.
The remaining five cycles of chemotherapy will then be in Karachi, under the supervision of Dr Nehal Masood, who has worked with Imran Khan’s benchmark-creating Shaukat Khanum facility in Lahore.
For the Mohammeds, it’s fingers crossed.
As for Yuvraj, out of favour since the end of January, he’s working towards making yet another comeback.
It’s not going to be easy, as being banished for eight months (till now) is a very long time in present-day cricket. However, the 31-year-old isn’t the type to throw in the towel.
To quote Hanif, Yuvraj is a “true fighter.”
Hanif is, of course, confident that Yuvraj will soon be back in the India shirt.
Footnote: Yuvraj referred to the first Asian Cricket Awards. Among other things, Hanif had then said: “Something about him (Yuvraj) reminded me about Garfield Sobers...”