Arun Lal’s silent battle with cancer

Arun Lal is battling a rare jaw cancer.   -  Bhagya Prakash K

Known to have taken on fast bowlers with rare courage, former India opener Arun Lal is battling a jaw cancer well away from the spotlight.

Speaking to Sportstar from a Kolkata hospital, the cricketer-turned-commentator confirmed he was on the recovery path after surgery.

“It’s a rare and dangerous cancer. The symptoms were detected in time (in January) before I went through a rigorous treatment process. Thank God, I have been able to hold my place,” he said in a tone that reflected his grit.

The treatment involved a 14-hour surgery and replacement of the jaw.

“Obviously it is like a new life. It was tough but I am indebted to the fantastic job by the doctors,” said the 60-year-old.

The ailment had kept Lal away from the broadcasters’ studios but there was no mention anywhere of why.

Was he not being missed?

“I got calls from close friends,” said Lal, who played Ranji Trophy for Delhi and Bengal.

Among the callers was Yuvraj Singh, who had waged a successful fight of his own against cancer after having contributed to India’s 2011 World Cup triumph.

For Yuvraj, it is an essential part of life now to reach out to cancer patients and inspire them to conquer the disease.

Yuvraj said: “I know what it feels like because I have been through this. It’s nice if you can share someone’s pain and help him overcome it. I always try to understand the mindset of the patient because it mentally defeats you.”

Lal’s Test best was a 93 against the West Indies in 1987, in then Calcutta. His career ended in 1989 with a Test in Kingston.

Fellow-commentator Navjot Singh Sidhu said: “I am looking forward to a stint with him.”

Lal said he too hoped to be back in the commentary box soon.

How soon?

“Give me two months.”

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