Age: 67 Years
Profession: Former Cricketer
Some Lesser Known Facts About Arun Lal
- Arun Lal is a former Indian cricketer, who was a right-handed opening batsman. He is also a commentator and columnist for cricket.
- Arun was earlier married to Reena; however, the couple got separated on a mutual decision.
- Although Arun got separated from Reena, he continued to live with her to take care of her as she is suffering from a chronic illness.
- After being in a relationship with Bulbul Saha, Lal got engaged to her in 2022 with the due consent of his first wife, Reena.
- According to the wedding invitation, which got viral on social media, the venue of the wedding is Peerless Inn, Esplanade, Kolkata.
- He moved to Calcutta from Delhi in 1979 and started the Bournvita Cricket Academy, which is one of the top cricket coaching academies in Kolkata.
- In his debut Test match against Sri Lanka at Madras, he made 63 runs with a shared partnership of 156 with Sunil Gavaskar.
- In his second Test, which was against Pakistan, he managed a score of 51 with a shared partnership of 105 with Sunil Gavaskar; however, he scored merely 49 in his next four innings which is why he was dropped from the team.
- His highest test score is 93 against West Indies at Calcutta in 1987.
- In his career of 16 Test innings from 1982 to 1989, he scored 729 runs at an average of 26.03.
- He made six Test half-centuries including one on debut against Sri Lanka in 1982 and two against Pakistan in the same match at Eden Gardens in 1987.
- He made 13 ODI appearances and his ODI average was 9.36.
- He represented both the Bengal cricket team and the Delhi cricket team at the domestic level of cricket.
- He spent 6 years in the Delhi team and then relocated to Bengal in 1981.
- He led the Bengal team to its first Ranji Trophy victory after 51 years in 1989 by staying unbeaten at 50 in the final match.
- He played a crucial role in the East Zone’s victories in the Duleep and the Deodhar Trophy.
- He played 156 first-class matches till 1995, during which he scored more than 10,000 runs with a top score of 287 and a batting average of 46.94.
- In 2001, he announced his retirement from competitive cricket and six years later from club cricket.
- He played his last club match for East Bengal.
- At the time of his retirement, he ranked fifth in the list of players with the most career runs in Ranji Trophy history by scoring 6760 runs with an average of 53.23.
- Reportedly, he decided to quit because of his health issues and physical constraints. In an interview, he revealed the reason for taking retirement from cricket. He said,
It may seem strange, but this year, I had problems after playing club matches in the hot and humid summer. That is why I decided to quit after the official end of the season today.”
Even last year during the same period I had scored a hundred. However, I did not feel as drained as I have been feeling this year. The recovery factor is taking too long a time. This has forced me to take the decision to quit.”
- After taking retirement from all formats of cricket, Arun started doing commentary and writing columns on cricket.
- In an interview, he said that the international players must continue to play domestic cricket as well. He added,
The most important tournament in this country is Ranji Trophy and not IPL”
- In January 2016, he left commentary when he was diagnosed with a jaw cancer called adenoid cystic carcinoma. He underwent treatment which included a 14-hour-long surgery and jaw replacement.
- In an interview, he explained the horrific experience and the treatment that he went through and said,
It took me a year to get out of it because my entire jaw had to be recreated otherwise I wouldn’t have had a face. From my leg, they cut out one of the bones (fibula) and they literally made a new jaw. I was on crutches because of the (cut in the) leg and I couldn’t move my right arm because of all the nerves that had been cut through my neck. It was a harrowing experience”
- He successfully recovered from cancer in a year; however, he stopped associating with cricket in any way for a few months. He started living in solitude at his villa.
- Later, when he was asked in an interview about his perception of life after recovering from life-threatening cancer. He expressed,
Everyday is a learning for human being. You are not the same person today compared to yesterday. When this kind of thing happens you definitely go through changes. You have to go through an ordeal, you are stronger now, you see life differently. I think I am much stronger both mentally and physically. I am very content with myself and as long as God is with me, I have no complaint.”
- Lal recalled in an interview that his former teammate and friend, Sourav Ganguly, called him, and he thought it was a courtesy call to keep a check on Arun’s health and whereabouts; however, it turned out to be an offer for becoming the coach of the State Senior team of Bengal as Ganguly was the president of the Cricket Association of Bengal at that time.
- He was made the chief coach of the East Zone branch of the National Cricket Academy and the head coach of the Bengal cricket team in 2017.
- It was under Arun Lal’s mentorship that the Bengal team reached the finals of India’s premier domestic competition, Ranji Trophy, in 2020 after a massive gap of 13 years.
- After Bengal’s victory under Arun Lal’s training, he was asked in an interview about his journey from playing for the Ranji winning team to being a coach of the Ranji finalist team. He replied,
I can not tell you how emotional this journey is for me. I am like a father now. If a son does well it is even happier for the father than what he personally did. So, it will be much bigger achievement for me if this team can win the Ranji Trophy compared to my win as a player. I value this journey of mine much more than my journey that season as a player.”
- According to Lal, team spirit is the utmost important factor in winning. In an interview, he said,
Team is paramount and everything else is secondary. First you bring your team spirit and then comes your skill, talent, mental ability everything.”
- He featured in the Doordarshan national integration song, “Mile Sur Mera Tumara” to represent Bengal.
- He is a bird-watcher by passion and has done immense work to save the migratory birds at Santragachi in Howrah.
- He also advocates wildlife conservation and has planted more than 4,000 trees. In an interview, he said,
My major passion is planting trees. Then cricket.”
- Arun has played the role of a father figure in the life of various people. He supported those underprivileged children with financial aid for their education. Bikash, who was a washerman’s son, was the first in his family to study in an English medium school. Arun helped him to do BCom and MCom and then graduate from IIM Kolkata. He went on to become the head of treasury at JSW Steel. Bikash gifted Arun and his family a Mercedes to express his gratitude, whereas he drives a relatively modest Volkswagen Vento and Renault Duster. Other people whom Arun and his first wife supported include Dr. Anup Sarkar, a super specialty gastroenterologist at the PG Hospital in Kolkata, Ashwini, a doctor at AIIMS in Delhi, and Sanjit, an IT professional in Sweden.
- Arun played an instrumental role in building Sourav Ganguly‘s career. Reportedly, he convinced the selectors to select Ganguly for the Ranji final in 1990. In an interview, Lal 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 skeptical about picking him.”