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Keya conquers cancer

31st January 2018
She was nicknamed Boon, after the Aussie opener David Boon, for her girth and hard hitting. Nobody knew then she would use the same fighting spirit to pummel the malignancy of cancer and come out a winner.
Meet former India cricketer and Bengal selector Keya Ray who has just been declared Cancer Free by the doctors at the Tata Centre, Mumbai, very recently. "I was detected with Ca Endomatrium in February 2017 with stage one malignancy. A frozen biopsy was done and it was diagnosed that i had gr2 sg1 cancer. I was operated upon and 5 female organs were removed. I went into severe depression," Keya, who played 4 Tests against New Zealand in 1976-77, said.
Happy at her recovery, the CAB Joint Secretary Avishek Dalmiya said: "We are really happy and proud at the way Keya Roy has fought one of the most dreaded ailments and come back. The never say die spirit inculcated in her through sportsmanship in cricket was displayed at the way she never lost sight of hope. She has been a great ambassador of the game and on behalf of the CAB, I wish her a long and healthy life so that she can serve Bengal cricket better."
Keya played first class cricket between 1973 and 1993 regularly for Bengal, East Zone, Railways and India. She later became a Bengal selector, a position she holds responsibly today. In between she moved to Mumbai where she received prolonged treatment.
"I am grateful to my oncologist, radiation expert for their encouragement. They always asked me about women's cricket. My husband was a pillar of strength and the state cricket association for constantly keeping tab on my progress. But it’s the mentality of winning that I learnt from the game that helped me fight back," she said.
She was also the first woman to score century in the National Woman's Cricket Championship in Gorakhpur 1977. She has played over 20 first class matches and after retiring she became coach of N-24 PGNS women's cricket team.
A hard hitting batter, she could easily clear the ground and was nicknamed David Boon for that reason. "Once I had hit the ball over the bowlers head clearing the CCFC ground's boundary wall in an Inter Railway game. That's why they called me David Boon," Keya said, who had scored an unbeaten 61 against the touring Australia Women’s team that was defeated by East Zone side she played for.
Keya had recently been conferred with the Honorary Life Membership of the state association. "I can now say I am free of cancer. Doctors have asked me to lead a healthy life with a few minor restrictions. I am happy that I can serve cricket and my state again as selector and manager and travel with the girls and enjoy the game that has taught me everything in life," she signed off.

Arindam Basu