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Hanif may need 7th chemo cycle

Hanif Mohammed

Calcutta: Cricket’s first Little Master, former Pakistan captain Hanif Mohammed, who has been undergoing chemotherapy even after a cancer-related surgery five months ago, may have to undergo an additional cycle of chemo — the seventh.

Hanif underwent the first two cycles at the London Oncology Clinic and the next three in Karachi’s Aga Khan Hospital. The sixth, spread over two days, is scheduled for Tuesday and December 24, again in hometown Karachi.

“The thinking of the doctors in Karachi is more like that in the US, so Dad could undergo a seventh cycle of adjuvant chemo too. He’s been getting a lower dose, owing to his age (Hanif turns 79 on December 21) and the fact that surgery alone may have been curative,” London-based younger son Shahzeb told The Telegraph on Friday morning.

Shahzeb has been coordinating Hanif’s treatment, but the work on the ground in Karachi is being done by elder son Shoaib, who recently lost his own younger son, Ayaan, to cancer.

Hanif, according to Shahzeb, has taken the chemo cycles reasonably well, barring the instances of “fever and stomach upset.”

There has, of course, been hair loss.

Around 9.00 pm, Hanif himself returned a call from this newspaper. He said: “Main behtar hoon... I’m feeling better... There’s plenty of cricket being played and there’s a T20 match tonight (Pakistan vs Sri Lanka in Dubai), so I get to watch a lot of what has been my life...

“I’m grateful for the support extended by well-wishers... Some of us have to fight a battle, so such good wishes count... I hope everything goes well on the 17th, when the next chemo cycle begins.”

Hanif sounded composed, but he’s known to get rather emotional, especially if he’s asked about Ayaan.

Once the cycles are complete (if required, the seventh will begin around January 7), Hanif would undergo CT scans and blood tests “every quarter.”

The rest of Hanif’s life, clearly, has to be monitored.