'You have to keep your immunity level high. You have to fight it. You have to stay positive, and believe in yourself. Eat well, sleep well, keep your immunity level high.'
Having fought cancer four years ago, former India batsman and Bengal coach Arun Lal knows a thing or two about conquering a dreadful disease and as the country battles the coronavirus pandemic, he feels both immunity and optimism need to be kept high.
The former player was detected with adenoid cystic carcinoma, a rare type of salivary glands cancer, but he overcame the disease and gained abundant hope in the process.
"It's a disease after all. You have to believe that you can fight it. You have no other choice. You have to be prepared for the worst. Hope for the best," Lal, under whom Bengal made their first Ranji final after 13 years this season, said
"You have to keep your immunity level high. You have to fight it. You have to stay positive, and believe in yourself. Eat well, sleep well, keep your immunity level high."
Lal was slated for a fortnight's holiday in Europe from April 15, but the COVID-19 pandemic put paid to all his plans and he is now confined at home, like everyone else.
"You have to prevent it not only for yourself but for everybody else around you. That's what I'm doing, I'm staying isolated. Looking after the elderly in the house," he said.
"Nobody knows very much about it yet. You have to be very very clear that you have to stay isolated. You have to wash your hands, wear a mask. You have to be careful."
With the world under lockdown to stop the spread of the deadly virus, Lal is doing his bit, looking after his ailing mother and wife, doing household chores that include cooking and cleaning.
"Gardening, cooking, cleaning. Then I have to look after my mother and wife, both are sort of semi bed-ridden. No help is also coming. Only one person I have," he said.
"I sometime make the sweet dishes, or may be the odd gobhi-aloo, bhindi or karela. I also love to cook meat. I make lovely meat. 24 hours is less for me. We are managing somehow."
A hard taskmaster, Lal is also making sure that his wards are engaged in training.
"Now everybody is training on their own. We have laid out plans for the fast bowling unit. They are given whole plan on what to do everyday and what training, and how to do. We want to be fitter than last year."
"They don't have grounds so they can only train on the roofs of their buildings, inside home, or in the drive-in and things like that. We hope to get together from July 1. But you never know. Future is very uncertain," he said.
"So far we are only working with the bowling unit. Not the batsmen yet. It's been our major deficiency area. We will work very hard on them from next week," he added.