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Former India opener Chetan Chauhan passes away


Former India opener Chetan Chauhan, who was on life support due to multiple organ failure, passed away on Sunday (August 16). He was 73. The two-time former BJP Lok Sabha MP from Amroha was Home Guard minister in the Uttar Pradesh cabinet. Chauhan had tested positive for Covid-19 in July, and his health worsened yesterday due to which he was put on a ventilator at a local hospital in Gurugram. In an international career lasting 12 years, Chauhan was an ideal foil at the top of the order to Sunil Gavaskar and the pair added more than 3000 Test runs.

“My elder brother Shri Chetan Chauhan has left us today after fighting a good battle. I sincerely thank everyone who had prayed for his recovery. His son Vinayak will be reaching anytime and we will then perform last rites,” brother Pushpendra said.

Chauhan represented India in 40 Tests and seven ODIs in an international career that spanned around 12 years (1969-1981). The righthander was an ideal foil at the top of the order to Sunil Gavaskar and the pair added more than 3000 Test runs, thereby becoming one of the longest serving opening partnerships for India. He was famously involved in a 213- run stand with Gavaskar at The Oval in 1979.

Sunil Gavaskar in his tribute, ““I firmly believe I was responsible for him missing out (century) on two occasions, both in Australia in the 1980/81 series,” he said. In the Perth Test, Chauhan was out for 97 which a superstitious Gavaskar believes was because he moved away from the TV and came on to the players’ balcony to celebrate the century. The second occasion that I believe I was responsible for Chetan missing a hundred was when I lost my head after being abused by the Australians as I was leaving the pitch after a terrible decision.” He was out for 85 in MCG.

On the domestic level, Chauhan played for Delhi and Maharashtra in the Ranji Trophy. He had 11,173 first-class runs to his name at an average of 40.22. In 1980-81, he was bestowed with the prestigious Arjuna Award. "I am deeply anguished to learn of the passing away of Shri Chetan Chauhan. I have spent so much time with him when he was the Indian Cricket Team's manager," said Sourav Ganguly, BCCI President. "Not only was he a tough opening batsman but was a person with a tremendous sense of humour and had a tremendous attachment to Indian cricket. This year needs to be forgotten as it has taken a lot of dear people away. He will always remain with us. May God give strength to his family to overcome this loss."

Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid tribute saying, “Shri Chetan Chauhan Ji distinguished himself as a wonderful cricketer and later as a diligent political leader. He made effective contributions to public service and strengthening the BJP in UP. Anguished by his passing away. Condolences to his family and supporters. Om Shanti.”

After his playing days, he took on various roles in the sport, notably as manager of the Indian team as well as an administrator with the DDCA, where he served as president, vice-president, secretary and chief selector at diffeerent times. As manager of the Indian team, the highlight for Chauhan came in 2001 during the historic series win over Australia. He was the manager for their tour of Australia in 2007-08 as well.

Chauhan as the Manager of the Indian team visiting Melbourne, relished the felicitation by the Indian Consulate and said the Indian crowd at MCG was one of the best he has ever seen supporting Indian team overseas.

He was elected twice to the lower house of the Indian parliament (Lok Sabha), and had been serving as a cabinet minister in the Uttar Pradesh government.



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