Benaud reveals skin cancer battle

Former Australia captain and commentator Richie Benaud has announced that he is battling skin cancer.

The 84-year-old is undergoing radiation therapy and made his illness public at an event in Sydney to mark the start of Australia’s summer season.

“I’m coping with it very well – the doctors are pleased,” Benaud said in quotes on Channel Nine. “I’m going along slowly. The cancers need to be treated.”

Benaud is receiving treatment for skin cancers on his forehead and the top of his head.

“I recommend to everyone they wear protection on their heads; 84-year-olds don’t seem to mend as well as they used to,” he said.

“When I was a kid, we never ever wore a cap. I wish I had. You live and learn as you go along.”

Benaud, who played 63 Tests, said he will return to the commentary box for the fourth Test between Australia and India at the Sydney Cricket ground in early January, after injuring himself in a car crash in October last year.

Richie Benaud has not commentated after being involved in a car accident last October, when he suffered two fractured vertebrae

“Progress is slow,” he said. “I’ve been doing a lot of walking.

“We are out every morning, doing 40-minute walks every morning and it’s showing beneficial effects.”

Channel Nine’s head of sport, Steve Crawley, said Benaud’s return was dependent on his health.

“We’ll wait and see what he does but it’s definitely not locked in,” he said. “He is having chemo at the moment. We just hope he is going to get well and the doctors keep saying all the right things.

“It’s up to him whether he wants to call, just like it was up to him if he wanted to come today. There is no pressure.”

Benaud started working for BBC Radio in 1960 and moved across to BBC Television three years later, becoming a full-time cricket journalist and commentator when his playing career ended.

Benaud joined Channel 4 in 1999, with his last British commentary coming in the 2005 Ashes series.

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