Legendary Australia captain Ian Chappell on Thursday (July 18) disclosed that he is battling skin cancer but the 75-year-old expects to be fit enough to commentate during the iconic Ashes series, starting August 1 at Edgbaston.
Chappell, who represented Australia in 75 Tests and 16 ODIs from 1964 to 1980, has undergone 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 has come back all clear and he expects to be part of Channel Nine’s Ashes coverage.
Chappell said he decided to deal with the cancers after watching his mother Jeanne "come to grips" with death.
“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,” he said.
Not many knew about his sickness at the start 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 radio therapy 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)