Sachin Tendulkar has said he was scared of breaking down in front of Yuvraj Singh when they met in London after Yuvraj's treatment for a rare germ cell cancer in the United States. Tendulkar was speaking in Delhi at the release of Yuvraj's book The Test of My Life: From Cricket to Cancer and Back.
"When I went to meet him in London, I was telling my wife that I don't want to break down when I see him," Tendulkar said. "I met him and gave him a tight hug. We enjoyed a meal, and from the way he ate I was convinced that he was back on track.
"When I saw my wife discussing medical terms with Yuvraj, I realised what he had been going through. He is like my younger brother and I would ask God why it (the illness) had to happen to Yuvraj."
Yuvraj recollected his first meeting with Tendulkar. "My first conversation was when I was looking at him in awe at the dressing room, suddenly he said, 'please pass on the biscuits.'" To this Tendulkar replied, "I have not got those biscuits till now."
Apart from Tendulkar, India captain MS Dhoni also spoke about Yuvraj's fight with cancer. Dhoni said he knew about Yuvraj's situation even before he was told about it. "When his test reports came, someone told me he has cancer," Dhoni said. "I just said 'are you sure?' The person repeated that Yuvraj has cancer. I was shocked."
Following his return from the United States after his treatment for mediastinal seminoma, Yuvraj set up a cancer charity called Youwecan, which focuses on spreading cancer awareness and early detection.
Several players who spoke at the event in conversation with Yuvraj and Harsha Bhogle said they had seen Yuvraj cough and throw up repeatedly during the 2011 World Cup, but assumed they were throat or stomach problems. Yuvraj was named Player of the Tournament for the World Cup and described the moment after Dhoni hit a six to win the final for India.
"I was running towards Mahi to hug him and he was running towards the stumps." Dhoni had said he'd made a run for the stumps because otherwise the rest of the players would make a grab for them.
During his stay in Indianapolis for cancer treatment, Yuvraj said he had followed India's matches in Australia and admitted to feeling "sad" at not being involved. "I would watch videos of my batting until one day Anil Kumble came to visit me and shut my laptop. He said I should forget about cricket and concentrate on my recovery." The only time Yuvraj found himself "jumping" with excitement and joy during two difficult months of chemotherapy was on hearing about Virat Kohli's century in Adelaide.
The India team and support staff were called onto the stage for photographs, but as the players went up Virender Sehwag stayed seated. Yuvraj called out to him and said, "Veeru, main bhi team main nahin noon, tum bhi team main nahin ho - chal aa jaa [I'm also not in the (Test) team, you're also not in the team - come on up]." Sehwag did with a smile on his face.