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BW Businessworld

Helping Others Gives Me Absolute Happiness: Yuvraj Singh

"We will always work towards making a difference in people’s lives and giving back to society. That was the impact the disease had on me — I started helping people around me"

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In a candid conversation with BW Businessworld, swashbuckling former Indian cricketer-turned-serial entrepreneur Yuvraj Singh talks about the highs and lows of his life, Covid-19, cricket, his battle with cancer and many other things. Excerpts:

How have the last 90 days been for you?
Last 90 days have been tough for the entire world. We need to live in the moment and do whatever best we can. Through my cancer foundation, I also wanted to contribute for coronavirus. There were a lot of health workers who were putting their lives in danger. For the first time everybody was required to stay at home and help people who are out and fighting the virus.

You have played for the country for a period of two decades. Tell us about your experience as a cricketer?
As an individual, I have learned a lot in these two decades. I managed to be in focus despite the hiccups that I faced in my early days. I had to learn a lot of things on my own as a young kid. I have always tried to learn from my mistakes and become a better version of myself. The biggest moment of my life was when we won the World Cup and I was the ‘Man of the Tournament’. Battling with cancer was hard but I was able to set an example. I came back from that phase and played for India again, despite the fact that a lot of people had said that it might not be possible. Self-belief is very important in one’s journey.

Mental health is extremely important. What are your views on it?
Mental health has a direct impact on physical well-being. You should always speak to people and be around people who love you. When a person is battling these issues, self-belief is very important in surmounting obstacles. Failure is also crucial to understand the value of success.

What are your top memories from the cricketing field?
The success that I have achieved as a cricketer. Definitely the sixes were a great moment in cricket. The 2000 World Cup was the pinnacle for my career. During the 2007 World Cup I was batting really well, but around the time of the 2011 World Cup I was struggling with injuries and selfdoubt. And it is very hard to explain in words. But the 2011 victory was very satisfying because India won after 28 years and it was also Sachin’s last World Cup on our home field. The day I achieved my highest one day score was another special moment of my career.

What impact did cancer have on your life and how did you fight it?
As a sportsman, I never thought that I would get diagnosed with such a dangerous disease. I had always put cricket before my life. Coming to terms with cancer and eventually the whole journey with it was tough. But the impact I was able to make with the YouWeCan Foundation is going great. We have done almost 1.5 lakh screenings and run tobacco cancer awareness programmes.

We have also provided student scholarships through the foundation and have recently provided over 10,000 PPE kits to minority workers. We will always work towards making a difference in people’s lives and giving back to society. That was the impact the disease had on me — I started helping people around me.

This article was first published in the print issue of (25 June- 09 July) BW Businessworld.
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