He was our stalwart: Chetan Chauhan's Maharashtra team-mates pay tribute

Former Maharashtra cricketers remembered the exemplary character of Chetan Chauhan who passed way on Sunday due to COVID-19.

Chetan Chauhan during his first-class debut season for Maharashtra in 1967.   -  The Hindu Archives

Chandu Borde remembers Chetan Chauhan as one of the ‘positive thinking’ cricketers of his time.

For Yajurvindra Singh and Pandurang Salgaoncar, Chauhan was a senior, who was ‘always willing to help young players’.

As the former India batsman passed away on Sunday evening, floodgates of memories opened for his former team-mates in Maharashtra.

Born in Bareily, Chauhan moved to Pune with his family at an young age and started playing first-class cricket for the state team from the 1967-68 season. And in his long career for the team - which lasted till 1975, before he moved to Delhi - Chauhan scored heavily for Maharashtra and the West Zone.

“He was a very confident player, who always had a positive approach,” Borde, Chauhan’s senior team-mate, said. “He was a gutsy opener for Maharashtra, and was one of the most consistent performers I have seen. The best thing about him was that he was very hard working and very serious about the game,” Borde, a former India international said.

Sunil Gavaskar: Right till the end, Chetan Chauhan was a giver, not a taker  

As a student of Pune’s iconic Nowrosjee Wadia College, Chauhan trained under Prof. Kamal Bhandarkar. “Chauhan, Hemant Kanitkar were students of Prof Bhandarkar and therefore their technique was very strong. Chauhan was very confident about his batting,” Borde said.

Chetan Chauhan and Yajurvindra Singh (Right) were felicitated by the Wadia College in Pune, a couple of years ago.   -  Yajurvindra Singh

 

Singh, who played four Test matches for India, was Chauhan’s junior. But they soon became friends. He remembers the Ranji Trophy match against Bombay in November 1972, where Chauhan hammered 187 and guided Maharashtra to clinch five points on the basis of first-innings lead.

Batting first, a star-studded Bombay - which had Gavaskar, Ajit Wadekar, Dilip Sardesai in its ranks - scored 357. Riding on Chauhan’s heroics, Maharashtra put up 366 in the first innings and the match was drawn.

“We were playing in Kolhapur, and I remember, while batting with him, I was run out. As I walked back, I told him that we should win the match. He said, ‘don’t worry, we are Rajputs, we will fly’. And he did it for us,” Singh said.

Chetan Chauhan - A gutsy man who beat the odds  

When Chauhan shifted to Delhi, it had an impact on the Maharashtra team.

“He was our stalwart. We were youngsters then, who would bat at No.6. Chauhan and Madhu Gupte would open the innings, and would have huge partnerships. So, when he went to Delhi, there was quite a bit of an impact,” Singh said.

Pandurang Salgaoncar, too agrees that Chauhan’s exit left a void in the team. “He was one of the senior most batsmen of our times, who would always motivate the boys. So, after he left, the team did struggle,” Salgaoncar said.

“I came from the rural Maharashtra, but he was always helpful. It was because of Chauhan that I could make it to the state team and play for long,” he reminisced.

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