Chetan Chauhan - A gutsy man who beat the odds

Chetan Chauhan left many world class bowlers in a fix with his craftsmanship, while his partnership with Sunil Gavaskar was a formidable one.

Chetan Chauhan's treatment of a fiery Dennis Lillie during the Tour of Australia in 1981 is one of his cherished memories.   -  the hindu archives

Gutsy Test opener Chetan Chauhan, who scripted many memorable cricketing tales with his more illustrious partner Sunil Gavaskar, breathed his last at Gurugram on Sunday.

Chauhan was diagnosed with Covid-19 last month in Lucknow and was transferred to Gurugram's Medanta Hospital. The condition took a turn to the worse following kidney failure and was on life support since Saturday morning. He was 73.

Known for his gentle ways, Chauhan remained Gavaskar's most trusted partner and the two formed one of India's most durable openign pairs.

For long a man with most Test runs without a century, Chauhan came close to scoring centuries, he so richly deserved, on several occasions. He had seven 80+ scores with 97 as his highest. Privately,he regretted the missed opportunities, including twice on 93, but the smile would return when one mentioned his treatment of Dennis Lillie on the 1981 Tour of Australia.

By this time, the helmets with optional visers, were used by a growing number of cricketers. Chauhan, like Madan Lal, gained the most from the use of helmets and duly added years to the international career.

When Chetan Chauhan came to the rescue of Sidhu, Yograj and Ghei  

In his own words, talking about infamous walkout of Gavaskar during the Melbourne Test, Chauhan once said, "Sunny wanted me to walk out with him (after he angrily questioning the leg-before decision),  I realised if we both cross the boundary line, it will amount to forfeiture of the game. Soon our manager made me stay on the ground.

"The situation was saved and of course, we went on to win that Test after Vishy (G. R. Viswanath) scored a memorable 114."

"It was in the Adelaide Test that I told myself that I was going to play my shots. I remember, Lillee was in the middle of a fiery spell. I decided to free my arms and hit him for four boundaries in a row past point. Each time the ball crossed the boundary, Lillee looked at me and said things that I did not understand. But that innings ended at 97, the closest I was destined to get to the century," he said.

"But never mind, God has been very kind!"

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