GET WELL SOON YUVRAJ

Yuvraj Singh was recently diagnosed with a rare condition called ‘mediastinal seminoma’, a rare form of cancer which is a germ-cell tumour, which is located between his lungs.

He is currently in the United States undergoing chemotherapy, and has been told that the tumour is curable.

He has been told that he should be cured within 10 weeks, with the possibility of returning to the cricket field on the 1st of May.

Yuvaj recently took to Twitter to thank those who have been wishing him well, saying he has been overwhelmed by the response and support he has received. It is a dreadful turn of events for Yuvraj, who remains one of the most powerful and extravagant stroke makers in the game of cricket, and a man India could sorely do to return to fighting health again.

There has been widespread criticism of Yuvraj’s initial diagnosis, but this has since been rebuked by Yuvraj’s doctor who claims it was just a misunderstanding.

Yuvraj will be hoping that his unfortunate encounter with the illness can hopefully provide a springboard to help boost the profile of it, as well as promote its treatment and prevention.

Reports on his condition have been front page news in India, and has been widely reported about on national television, which some feel is in ill taste. He has come across as courageous and defiant in the face of adversity, and has come out and said he can’t wait to wear the Indian jersey and cap once again, and start smashing the ball around with one of the gray nicolls cricket bats he made famous.

The whole of world cricket has wasted no time in wishing him a speedy and full recovery, and the game of cricket is sorely missing one of its most charismatic characters.

AFGHANISTAN CONTINUE TO RISE

The story of the Afghanistan cricket team is an incredibly uplifting one.

The Afghanistan Cricket Board was actually formed by Afghan refugees in Pakistan, with the game of cricket rising in popularity rising amongst the Afghan people. Since then, Afghanistan’s rise through the game of cricket has been incredible.

In only 2008, they were in Division 5 of the World Cricket League, and by 2010 they were competing alongside the best teams in the world at the ICC World Twenty20.

Cricket for this inspirational Afghanistan team is going from strength to strength, and in February 2012 are due to play their first One Day International against a full member side when they take on Pakistan in Sharjah.

Another testament to the strength of Afghanistan is the fact that as part of the ICC’s combined Associate and Affiliate team that will play England in the UAE in the New Year, Afghanistan have 3 representatives within the team.

There are next to no first class facilities in Afghanistan, so in order to take part in any top quality training, trips to places like Pakistan are needed. Hamid Hassan, Afghanistan’s quickest bowler, is a world class talent, and is also symptomatic of the raw talent Afghanistan possesses.

Hopefully with the increased exposure they are receiving now as part of their participation in the World T20, they can generate funds to improve facilities and help improve the domestic structure of the game within Afghanistan, and nurture the junior players they possess. Might be worth placing a cricket bet on Afghanistan to do big things in the future.

It is also imperative to their progress that they manage to qualify for the World T20 in Sri Lanka, and with only 2 teams from the 16 teams participating in the qualifiers, it will be a tough task.

HISTORY IN THE MAKING

Cricketing history will be made on Friday when Afghanistan travel to Sharjah to face Pakistan – their first ever one-day international against a Test-playing nation.

In a one-off encounter, three days before the start of Pakistan’s ‘home’ one-day series against England in the UAE, Afghanistan will attempt to achieve one of the sport’s greatest ever upsets against their neighbours.
Despite earning One Day International status in 2009 they have only ever faced Associate and Affiliate teams in 50-over contests before, though they do possess some pedigree in the Twenty20 arena.

They are currently ranked ninth in the ICC rankings for the shortest version of the game, and during the World Twenty20 competition in 2010 they played both India and South Africa.

Friday’s historic fixture is another example of increasingly harmonious cricketing relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan. The Afghan team became the first to tour Pakistan since the attack on Sri Lanka’s team coach in March 2009 when they played a trio of 50-over matches against Pakistan A in May this year.

In addition, plans were made for Afghanistan to join Pakistan’s domestic Twenty20 tournament, though this never came to fruition.

The cricketing ties between the two nations have drawn praise from the ICC.

Tim Anderson, ICC Global Development Manager, recently spoke of his admiration for the link and stressed how the organisation were striving to develop the cricketing culture in countries where it was seen as a minority sport.

He stated how nations such as Scotland, UAE, Nepal and even Papa New Guinea were places with huge potential for future growth.

The case of Afghanistan, a burgeoning cricket nation about to take their mightiest step forward on Friday, proves how cricket is a sport that has the ability to flourish if the grassroots are in place.