New Delhi: The doors stayed closed as the anticipation mounted. In what was the equivalent of curtains rising on a grand theatrical performance, camera crews waited expectantly – and patiently – at the airport here Monday for ace cricketer Yuvraj Singh to walk out after three months of battling cancer in the US.
Thousands of television viewers also watched as channels went live with the homecoming of the 30-year-old cricket hero who survived rare germ cell cancer after undergoing treatment at the Boston Institute of Cancer Research.
Long before the Jet Airways flight from London landed here 9.45 a.m., there was a huge media presence at the Indira Gandhi International Airport. Yuvraj had been resting in London for a while after the treatment.
Dressed in a black T-Shirt, glares and a red baseball cap, he returned home in a blaze of flashlights. TV channels’ OB vans were lined outside Terminal 3 of the airport while scores of cameramen jostled with photographers to get the best view for their shots.
At around 10.30 a.m. when Yuvraj walked out with his mother Shabnam, there was complete pandemonium that took fellow travellers completely by surprise.
Yuvraj strode out of the airport and posed with his mother and obliged the photographers and camera crews. TV reporters scampered for bytes but Yuvraj refused to talk and was whisked away with his mother to their Guragon residence.
A fleet of OB vans followed Yuvraj and by the time they arrived at his residence a huge crowd had gathered outside the house as fans and neighbours eagerly waited for a glimpse of India’s 2011 World Cup star.
While Shabnam came out to talk to the media, Yuvraj preferred to stay on the roof of the three-storeyed house and waved to the crowd saying he was fine.
Shabnam said she had prepared gobi paranthas for her son.
“I will cook him some paranthas and he will be taking rest for another 10-15 days before scheduling anything. He is very positive about the whole thing. I am very happy that he is back. It was an innings that he fought alone but with the blessings of the country,” Shabnam said.
And clearly, even for people not quite interested in cricket, this was a homecoming that eclipsed other news events. And the media was happy to oblige. When India’s cricket hero vanquishes cancer, it is a Kodak moment not to be missed.