If the PM can function normally at 69 years then so can I at 65, states Arun Lal

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Bengal coach Arun Lal, whose future has been jeopardized due to the BCCI’s SOPs barring people over the age of 60 from partaking in training camps, has pointed at the example of PM Modi and opined that age should not be a defining factor. Lal added that he won’t ‘lock himself’ just because he’s 65.

The Bengal Ranji Trophy Cricket team and their coach Arun Lal were dealt a massive blow earlier this week after the BCCI released a list of SOPs to be followed in order for state associations to resume training and outdoor cricketing activities. The new SOPs from the BCCI barred people over the age of 60 from participating in training camps, due to them being in the ‘most vulnerable’ category, and this effectively meant that Lal, who is 65 years old, will not be able to take up coaching duties for the upcoming season.

Arun Lal, a  former commentator, however, has been left baffled and dejected by the decision and has expressed his displeasure over the same. Lal, who turned 65 just three days ago, pointed to the example of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and made a case that age shouldn’t be a defining factor and further asserted that he will not be locking himself inside a room just because he is 65 years of age.

“The Prime Minister is 69 and he’s running the country in these times. Are they telling him to step down?” the Bengal coach counter-questioned during an exclusive interview to PTI.

“Me as a person, whether I coach Bengal or not is immaterial but I will live my life. Don’t expect me that I’m 65 years old, so I will lock myself in a room for the next 30 years. This does not happen like this.”

Arun Lal, under whose coaching Bengal reached the Ranji trophy final last season, assured that he would take all necessary precaution but expressed his displeasure over being asked to forcefully quarantine just because of his age.

“I will take precautions like everybody else – social distancing, hand washing, sanitising, mask-wearing all that I will do. Unnecessarily there will be no foolhardiness. But I will not quarantine myself just because I’m 60-plus. Virus does not know the difference between 59 and 60.

“I know the whole concern is about people above-60. I understand that. But I think things will work out. A couple of months down the line, the virus will start subsiding. Much before any vaccine or anything.”

While rumors that Bengal have started to look for alternatives of Arun Lal have already started to do the rounds, the incumbent coach quashed all speculation and said that he’s got no intimation from CAB about being potentially asked to relinquish his post. The 65-year-old also hoped for the advisory to change and opined that the existing advisory has ‘no binding on it’.

“Certainly, I’m continuing. I’ve got no news from any quarters that you know I’m not continuing.

“An advisory can change, in fact it itself says it can change and it’s temporary. Situation is so fluid and uncertain; nobody knows about tomorrow. We will wait and see how it pans out. It also discourages and there’s no binding on it,” the Bengal coach said.

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