Trueman faces battle with lung cancer

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The Independent Online

Fred Trueman has been diagnosed as suffering with cancer. The former Yorkshire and England fast bowler, who terrorised the world's batsmen for two decades, is to undergo a 15-week course of treatment on a condition known as small cell carcinoma.

His former Yorkshire team-mate, Bob Platt, said: "If anyone can fight this, Fred can. He is in exceedingly good spirits, and the good news is that the doctors have caught this early."

Trueman, 75, has returned home after a short spell in Airedale Hospital, Keighley, where it was first reported that he was being treated for anaemia. Small cell lung cancer accounts for about one in five of all lung cancer and is associated with smoking - with nine out of 10 sufferers being smokers or former smokers - and Trueman is well known to be a pipe smoker. Radiation therapy and chemotherapy are the usual methods of treatment.

Trueman took more than 2,000 first-class wickets in a 20-year career from 1949 to 1969, during which he became the first bowler in cricket history to top 300 Test victims.

He became famed for his new-ball partnership for England with Lancashire's Brian Statham and was Yorkshire's pace spearhead during his native county's dominance of the English game through the 1960s.

Geoff Boycott, his celebrated team-mate for Yorkshire and England during that time, has also had to fight cancer in recent years and is now back working in the commentary box Trueman himself inhabited for many years for the BBC's Test Match Special.

He was born Frederick Sewards Trueman, in Stainton in 1931, and his bowling abilities shone through early on, when he took six wickets for a single run in a league game at the age of 15. This performance attracted the attention of Yorkshire, and he rose through the English ranks, quickly cementing himself at county level before moving on to become one of the best true fast bowlers of his generation.

Not particularly tall for a fast bowler at 5ft 10in, Trueman made good use of his wide shoulders and strong legs to produce genuine pace from his classic sideways-on action. Garry Sobers has said that he regards him as one of the finest fast bowlers he has ever played against.

"Fiery Fred", as he was known, taunted batsmen with his Yorkshire humour and the icy glare that went with his aggressive make-up. He will doubtless be facing this latest battle with the same indomitable attitude.

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