Known to display brute courage and determination both as a captain and batsman – Ian Chappell is fighting a more dangerous battle off the field with the more deadly foe – ‘skin cancer’. The Aussie cricket legend has finally opened about his challenges with the disease and spoke in length about the effects of it. Chappell, who played 75 Tests for Australia between 1964 and 1980, has completed five weeks of intense radiation therapy after he had skin cancers removed from his shoulder, neck and underarm.
“When you hit 70 you feel (vulnerable) anyhow, but I guess I’ve got so used to bloody skin cancers over the years, and the fact that none of them have been melanomas, probably provides a bit of comfort. It may be naivety on my part,” Chappell told ‘The Daily Telegraph’.
At this stage, the pathology report has come all clear and he is ready to commentate in the upcoming Ashes series, beginning with the first Test at Birmingham on August 1.
Chappell was even able to attend a family reunion with brothers Greg and Trevor last week. In fact, he continued working during his radiotherapy.
The maker of 5345 Tests runs said his constant battles with skin cancer has prepared him for the worst.
“I’ve had multiple skin cancers cut off, burnt off and every other way you can get rid of them. You get to 70 and you start to think, ‘Christ, it’s getting near the end now.’ But I saw my mother, Jeanne near the end and she’d come to grips with death, and that’s probably when I thought, ‘shit, this is something you need to deal with’.”
“Not that you’re trying to rush it, but when it comes you’re comfortable. I guess I’ve been in that mode for a while now, and when it happens you just say, ‘well, I’ve had a pretty good time and that’s it.”
“When Richie (Benaud) and Tony (Greig) went again, it was just a reminder that it happens to everybody,” said Chappell who is well respected for his views on the game.
Not many knew about his illness initially but he told his friends and family after being confident about his treatment.
“I didn’t tell too many people early on. Mainly because I just wasn’t sure what the radiotherapy would involve and how weary I’d be. But as it turned out, it wasn’t so bad. A bit of tiredness at night and a bit of skin irritation, but other than that I’m feeling pretty good.
“I told family and gradually a couple of my teammates and I’ve been getting calls from them pretty regularly which is nice. With the Ashes coming up now, I’ll speak to Nine (Broadcaster) and just say, ‘look, I’m ready to go if you need me’.
(With PTI Inputs)