Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

Aqib Ilyas has been appointed as the captain of Oman for the T20 World Cup 2024 being held in USA and West Indies.

The 31-year-old who takes over national captaincy for the first time, still remembers when a doctor broke the news to him that the acute pain he was suffering on his left ankle was a cancerous tumour.

"A few months ago, just before we played in the T20 World Cup (2021), I had lost one of my closest friends to the same illness. He too had a tumour in the same left ankle and he couldn’t survive. When the doctor informed me, it was like my entire world had come crashing down. I had no hope, forget about walking again or playing cricket," said Aqib Ilyas during a recent interaction.

"I texted Oman coach Duleep Mendis from the car and wrote ‘Sir, I am done with my cricket, doctors have told me that the swelling is cancer. And I switched off my mobile. When my brother from Pakistan asked me what happened, I started crying. They panicked and called me home," he added.

However, Oman Cricket Board  take care of his treatment and he got treatment in Lahore.

"Surgery was complex, given the bone had grown misshapen around the tumour. But he received the good news that it was benign. And then I understood the difference between malignant and benign tumours. He comforted my family that there was a chance of recovery and I could play cricket but there was no definite timeline," said Ilyas.

Subsequently,  it took him eight months to walk without crutches and 18 months to return to the cricket field. With his passion and dedication for the game, Aqib was named as Oman’s captain when the squad for the T20 World Cup was announced last month.

"First of all I was grateful that I survived. It’s a big thing for us to qualify into the World T20, and to be able to compete against all the top teams. I am motivated to lead Oman," said Ilyas.

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