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The women behind the champions

July 10, 2008

India's leading cricketers Yuvraj Singh, Zaheer Khan and Dinesh Karthik on Thursday paid tribute and recognised the contribution of the women who played roles in their success.

Shabnam Singh, Zakhiya Bhakhtiyar Khan and Nikita Karthik were felicitated as the 'Real Champion' at a function in Mumbai to launch the 'Ariel Real Champions Program' in India.

Zaheer's mother, Zakhiya, revealed how she helped get him over his dejection after he was dumped from the Indian team in 2006.

"I remember when he was injured and out of the team, he was very nervous then. But I told him that whatever he had achieved was enough and not to worry too much. Zaheer kept working hard though and finally managed to make a comeback," she said.

Yuvraj's mother Shabnam also recounted an incident when she went all the way to London to pep her son.

"In 2002, he didn't do well in two practice games and he got very dejected. So I had to go all the way to London, specially to cheer him up. And then in the next match against England he played well and was the man of the match. I still remember that he dedicated that man of the match trophy to me and it was quite special," Shabnam recalled.

Karthik's wife Nikita recounted her first tour, in Bangladesh last year, when her husband had fallen ill and she had to take care of him and ensure got ready for the match.

"He got ill before the match, so I had to make sure I took good care of him. He managed to get fit for the match and scored a century, his first in Test cricket, and he dedicated it to me; so it was quite special," she said.

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