India's cricket-loving fraternity heaved a sigh of relief that the tumour on Yuvraj Singh's lung is not malignant. However, his tale of agony which his mother Shabnam revealed in great detail the other day is startling and sad.
That Yuvraj, despite his condition, is aiming to make a comeback for the one-day competition in Australia which follows the four-Test series shows the kind of wherewithal which can move mountains. These are sensitive times for Yuvraj, his family and teammates. He has just ducked the biggest bouncer of his life. Yet, there must be questions asked surrounding his condition.
Unfit to play: Yuvraj had opted out of the one-day series against
The BCCI were well aware that he had a health problem. After all, he missed the tour of the West Indies. Here's what the BCCI's press release (dated May 27, 2011) said while announcing the team selected to be part of the three-Test series in the Caribbean: "Yuvraj Singh will also be unavailable for the full tour. He is suffering from an upper respiratory infection, with a small patch of pneumonitis in the left lung."
Yuvraj made it to the Test squad for the tour of England and played in Trent Bridge where he got hit on the hand by a Tim Bresnan delivery and returned home. He then played two Tests against West Indies at home and presumably was dropped because of form.
Some BCCI officials claim they only came to know of Yuvraj's serious lung condition when his mother revealed details of his illness. But they DID know of a lung-related ailment after the World Cup. That is how the mention was made in the BCCI press release before the West Indies tour.
Did the BCCI thoroughly check Yuvraj's condition before selecting him for the England tour? Or did they just go by his availability? In any case, the right thing to do would have been to inform the media about the condition of his lung, the very part of his body which prevented him from playing the previous series.
One of the many advantages in being transparent is that everyone involved in cricket, fans included, are convinced that no deserving player has been deprived of a chance of representing India. Hopefully, no one is guilty of any wrong doing here. The BCCI is not generous when it comes to thorough updates on players. Their November 25 press release on the one-day series selection went like this: "Sachin Tendulkar has been rested. Mahendra Singh Dhoni has been rested for the series. Yuvraj Singh was not considered for selection, as he has informed that he is not fully fit." Don't cricket lovers deserve to know more about the stars they adore every passing day?
On the same day, Cricket Australia announced that five players (Shane Watson, Ryan Harris, Shaun Marsh, Mitchell Johnson and Pat Cummins) were ruled out for the first Test against New Zealand. The media release contained quotes from CA's team performance manager Pat Howard. And Team physio Alex Kountouris was quoted on the condition of each of the five players. The media does not expect to be spoilt with an overflowing inbox. But in India, they are clearly impoverished when it comes to information. Shabnam Singh must be thanked. And Yuvraj deserves every 'get well soon' wish.
Clayton Murzello is Group Sports Editor, MiD DAY