'It is like starting a new life' - Yuvraj

Harbhajan Singh and Yuvraj Singh during practice Associated Press

Yuvraj Singh, who is expected to mark his return to international cricket during the first Twenty20 in Visakhapatnam, has said he is treating his comeback as a new beginning. The match is expected to be attended by several of his friends and family members.

Yuvraj overcame a rare germ cell cancer, diagnosed late last year, after undergoing chemotherapy in the USA and was named in the Twenty20 squad after being declared fit by doctors at the National Cricket Academy in Bangalore.

"It is hard to believe that I will be playing for India again," Yuvraj said. "A few months back I had trouble climbing four steps, now I can't wait to take the field. It is like starting a new life."

Yuvraj has received a lot of media attention over recent months, with fans praying for his speedy recovery. It continued when he resumed training and not surprisingly, much of the attention in the lead-up to the first Twenty20 against New Zealand has centered on him. However, the captain MS Dhoni cautioned that the increased attention could be distracting to the player and the team, especially with the World Twenty20 coming up in Sri Lanka.

"The whole world is talking about his comeback in a manner as if they are helping him out. In a way, it puts the burden on the individual," Dhoni said. "It's important to keep it as normal as possible, not to let him think what has really happened in his life.

"He has fought through it as he is a strong character. As I said, he needs to turn up and just enjoy his cricket. That's what he has done from age-group cricket till now. So he should not think about anything else."

Yuvraj's return was welcomed by his fellow team-mates, some of whom last shared a dressing room with him back in November 2011, during the home Tests against West Indies.

"Now this is what we call a comeback," said Harbhajan Singh, who is also making a return after being dropped. "There can't be a bigger inspiration in cricket than Yuvi. It is a privilege to be back in the dressing room with him."

Batsman Suresh Raina said his story was an inspiration. "Yuvibhai is such a great fighter. He has put in so much effort, and worked really hard at the NCA," Raina said. "You will get to see this when he comes out on the field. He is a team man. We are pretty confident that he will do well."