Kolkata: Eight of former India opener Arun Lal’s 16 Test matches in the 1980s were played against the hardest team to beat in cricket — West Indies. In life, he now has a similar opponent — cancer and he’s not backing away.
While speaking over the phone, he puts you in no doubt that you are speaking with a man who is terribly unwell, but fighting hard. “I endured a lot of pain and struggled to speak,” he said about his jaw cancer which caused him to undergo a 13-hour surgery at a Kolkata hospital recently. “I have to accept it and I am heavily depending on the radiation now.” Arun Lal has to travel 20 km to an area called Rajarhat in Kolkata daily for radiation.
He is confident of going about his normal life in two months and was touched to receive phone calls from his former captain Sunil Gavaskar, Sourav Ganguly and Yuvraj Singh, enquiring about his condition. The conversation with Yuvraj was special and rewarding because the southpaw is a cancer-conqueror himself.
“It’s a challenge for me and I will fight it out,” he said. Arun Lal’s dreaded disease did not stop him from watching cricket on television. He was delighted to see the West Indies beat England in the World T20 final in his home city earlier this month.
“It was a very creditable win for West Indies. England played well too except in the last over… four balls to be precise. I have also watched a few Indian Premier League games,” said Arun Lal.