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Sunday, August 16, 2020

Wishing Chetan Chauhan speedy recovery

Remember our joy on 20th Jan 1980 – Pongal Test against Pakistan, Gavaskar scored a century, Kapil 84 + 11 wickets .. on the final day when India needed 78, Gavaskar and Chetan Chauhan opened the innings, Chahuan played delectable squarecuts and with 8 boundaries scored 46* steering India to a massive victory by 10 wickets.  Those were the days of Sunil  Gavaskar having various partners  including Eknath Solkar, Farokh Engineer, Parthasarathi Sharma, Anshuman Gaekwad, Chetan Chauhan, Pranab Roy, Krish Srikkanth,Arun Lal, Ghulam Parker – to name a few.  Chauhan  forged a long lasting successful combination with little master Gavaskar. 

Chetandra Pratap Singh Chauhan debuted in the  1st Test, at Brabourne statdium against New Zealand in 1969 – India won by 60 runs.  In all he played 40 tests making 2084 runs and 7 one dayers.  His first 3 tests were in 1969, then next 2 in 1973 and had wait for more 4 more years – from  Dec 1977, he was a permanent fixture till Auckland test in 1981. Along side Chauhan debuted Ashok Mankad & a fast bowler by name Ajit Pai.  Pai took 29/2 in 17 overs and in the 2nd innings was given 2 overs and .. .. forgotten thereafter !!  

It was ODI no. 54 at Quetta on 1st Oct 1978, when India led by Bishan Bedi played Pak and won by 4 runs  ~ came  Indian second win in an ODI, the first having come against East Africa in inaugural World Cup 1975.  At Iqbal Stadium, Faisalabad on 16th  Oct 1978, Pakistanis and the World were to witness a rare spectacle – a bouncer from Indian pacer, and Sadiq Mohammad calling for a helmet !  In that one dayer Kapil Dev made his debut alongside senior Chetan Chauhan and Surinder Amarnath.

Remember Chauhan for the way he batted in Australia in 1977 and in 1981.  India  won twice at Melbourne.  In  Feb 1981 – a Test which was almost sparred by ‘smoke was coming out of my ears and I heard nothing’ comment of Sunil Gavaskar.   In Test No. 895, Indians led by Gavaskar, made 237 with a brilliant 114 by Gundappa Vishwanath.   Lillee scalped 4, Pascoe took 3.  Aussies made a massive 416.  India had the best partnership of 165 when Gavaskar was adjudged LBW to Lillee when he had nicked it on to his pads.  Gavaskar protested and almost took Chauhan along with him.  Chauhan went on to make 85 and Indians made 324 – a target of 143 looked simple and Kapil was not fit to bowl with a strained thigh muscle.

In  the dramatic last session Aussie lost 3 wickets for 24.  Ghavri removed Jack Dyson; Wood was out to Doshi and Greg Chappen was out bowled by Ghavri for a first ball duck.   The next morning Kapil dev fired them out with figures of 5 for 28 bundling them out for 83 – one of the lowest movements for Australia.


                     Chetan Chauhan who batted so well – played in 40 Tests making 2000 odd runs but never made a century, though was closer many a times.  In that Melbourne test, Chauhan was urged by Gavaskar to walk out and leave the field but the manager  Wing Commander S. K. Durrani, intervened,  and ensured that the controversial dismissal did not spoil the match.  The whole of the Series there was inconsistent umpiring always going against the Indians.   The inexperienced Rex Whitehead, who made his debut in the first Test and stood in all three matches even after Indians protested.

Chetan Chauhan, the former India opener and veteran cricket administrator, has been put on ventilator, a report in PTI stated. Chauhan, who in July had tested positive for the Covid-19, was yet to recover fully when a further infection affected his kidneys and caused blood pressure problems.  After testing positive for Covid-19, Chauhan was hospitalised at the Sanjay Gandhi PGI hospital in Lucknow. He was later moved to Gurugram’s Medanta hospital. On Friday night, Chauhan’s condition deteriorated, after which the doctors put him on life support. “Early morning today, Chetan ji had a kidney failure and subsequently, had multi-organ failure. He is currently on life support. We are all praying that he wins this battle,” a senior DDCA official, who is keeping track of the development, told PTI on Saturday.

Chauhan has served the Delhi & Districts Cricket Association (DDCA) in various capacities - president, vice-president, secretary and chief selector - apart from being manager of the Indian Team during their tour of Australia. Chauhan was twice elected to the Lok Sabha from Amroha in Uttar Pradesh, in 1991 and 1998 and was honoured with the Arjuna Award in 1981.  He was Chairman of NIFT (National Institute of Fashion Technology) and is a Cabinet Minister in UP of Sainik Welfare, Home Guards, PRD, Civil Security.

Wishing the gutsy opener speedy recovery. 

With regards – S. Sampathkumar


PS : Sadly couple of hours after posting this Chetan Chauhan passed away in Gurugram this evening.  He breathed his last at 4.15 pm at Medanta Hospital due to multiple organ failure.


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