Arun Lal: 12 facts about the Indian domestic giant

Arun Lal, born August 1, 1955, is a former Indian opening batsman who was a prolific run scorer in domestic cricket but couldn t translate his performances at the highest level. Suvajit Mustafi points out 12 facts about the domestic cricket giant, who played for Delhi and Bengal in the Ranji Trophy and averaged 54.09.

1. Called Piggy : Arun Lal is called Piggy by his close friends.

2. Family of cricketers: Arun hails from a family of cricketers. His father Dhir Jagdish Lal was an opening batsman at First-Class level, while his uncle Dhir Muni Lal and cousin Akash Lal were also opening batsmen. The latter was a prolific batsman for Delhi. However, it was Arun s father who inspired him to play the game.

3. Prestigious education: Arun attended Mayo College in Ajmer and is an alumnus of Delhi s St. Stephen s College.

4. Ranji Trophy giant: In a career spanning over 20 years, Arun played 156 First-Class games, scoring 10,421 runs at an average of almost 47. However, he was extremely productive in Ranji Trophy. He played for two states, Delhi and Bengal. In 93 Ranji games, he scored 6,762 runs at 54.09.

5. Five First-Class double hundreds, including two knocks of 287: Arun has five First-Class double hundreds three in Ranji Trophy and two in Duleep Trophy. In fact, he missed a chance to score triple hundred twice. On both occasions he managed 287. Once against West Zone in 1986, and three months later, in January 1987, against Rajasthan.

6. Gavaskar s replacement in Kolkata Test in 1987; excelled and still dropped! Sunil Gavaskar opted out of the Kolkata Test against Pakistan in 1987 and local boy Arun replaced him. Despite knocks of 52 and 70 in the drawn Test, he was dropped from the side.

7. Richard Hadlee s world record wicket: On November 12, 1988 in Bangalore, New Zealand ace pacer Hadlee dismissed Arun to break the world record for most Test wickets, previously held by Ian Botham. Arun was Hadlee s 374th wicket.

8. Bournvita Cricket Academy: Arun runs one of the top cricket coaching academies in Kolkata the Bournvita Cricket Academy.

9. Playing a role in Sourav Ganguly s Ranji Trophy debut: Arun played a major role in convincing the selectors to select Ganguly in the Ranji final in 1990. In an interview with Cricket Country, Arun said, I had watched Sourav grow from the very beginning. I backed him from his early days. In fact, I was among the ones who had pushed for his inclusion in the final when the selectors were sceptical about picking him. Against a strong Delhi attack, Ganguly stroked his way to an attractive 22 and later went on to become the most successful left-handed batsman India ever produced.

10. Cricket analyst: Arun is one of the most popular television commentators. His also writes columns on cricket in newspapers and on the internet.

11. Appeared in Mile Sur Mera Tumhara : Arun was one of the celebrities who appeared in the iconic 1988 Doordarshan music video Mile sur mera tumhara , which promoted national integration and unity in diversity.

12. Battle with Cancer: In January 2016, Arun was diagnosed with a rare form of jaw cancer. A fighter that he is, Arun fought with the disease bravely and made comeback to commentary during the first pink-ball match in India at the Eden Gardens. “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. Obviously, it is like a new life. It was tough but I am indebted to the fantastic job by the doctors, the 60-year-old was quoted saying as by The Hindu from Kolkata Hospital earlier in 2016.

With inputs from Nishad Pai Vaidya

(Suvajit Mustafi consumes cricket for lunch, fiction for dinner and munches numerous other snacks throughout the day. Yes, a jack of several trades, all Suvajit dreamt of was being India s World Cup winning skipper but ended up being a sports writer, author, screenwriter, director, copywriter, graphic designer, sportsmarketer , strategist, entrepreneur, philosopher and traveller. Donning so many hats, it s cricket which gives him the ultimate high and where he finds solace. He can be followed at @RibsGully and rivu7)