Former India cricketer V.B. Chandrasekhar no more

Fondly known as VB in cricketing circles, the Tamil Nadu batsman represented India in seven ODIs.

Former Tamil Nadu cricketer V.B. Chandrasekhar during a Ranji Trophy match.   -  SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

Former India and Tamil Nadu opener V.B. Chandrasekhar passed away here on Thursday. He was 57. Police said the body of the former cricketer was recovered from his residence. They suspect it to be a case of suicide.

Chandrasekhar, popularly called VB, is survived by wife and two daughters. 

A hard-hitting opener, he represented India in seven ODIs, with an innings of 53 being his highest score. In 81 First Class matches, Chandrasekhar notched up 4999 runs at 43.09 with 10 centuries. 

After his eventful cricketing career, where he was a part of the last Tamil Nadu team to triumph in the Ranji Trophy in 1988 — he later led the State side and then briefly played for Goa — VB focussed on coaching and commentary.

READ: RIP V.B. Chandrasekhar: The day a TN stalwart mesmerised Rest of India

VB coached the Tamil Nadu Ranji team and was continually involved with the game.

Significantly, he was the cricket manager of Chennai Super Kings in the franchise’s first three years and was instrumental in getting the iconic M.S. Dhoni to CSK.

Tamil Nadu batsman V.B. Chandrasekhar (right) celebrates with his skipper K. Srikkanth after scoring a quickfire hundred in the Irani Trophy cricket match against Rest of India at the M.A. Chidambaram Stadium (Chepauk).   -  THE HINDU ARCHIVES

Special bond with Dravid

He shared a special bond with Rahul Dravid and spent long hours dissecting cricket with the batting legend. “I taught Rahul how to sweep,” he would say with a sparkle in his eyes. 

Interestingly, Dravid’s sons used to visit VB’s coaching camp in Chennai. “They are very promising. Watch out for them,” VB would say.

The multi-faceted Chandrasekhar wore many hats. He was a National selector from 2004 to 2006. He was also an exceptional talent spotter. 

VB’s explosive batting skills came to the fore in the Irani Trophy of 1988-89 in Chennai, where he reached his century off 56 balls, which was then the quickest hundred by an Indian in First Class cricket. 

During Tamil Nadu’s triumphant Ranji campaign in 1987-88, VB scored 551 from eight matches at 45.91, often dismantling attacks at the top of the order with his barrage of strokes. He cherished hitting the ball straight.

Soon he was drafted into the Indian ODI team. In the early 1990s, VB travelled to New Zealand with the Indian team. 

Warm, friendly person

He was a warm, friendly man, who brought with him charm, elegance and wit. He would regale you with anecdotes laced with a sense of humour.

VB was an entrepreneur. He owned the team VB Kanchi Veerans in the Tamil Nadu Premier League. Cricket meant everything to him. VB was also the owner of a state-of-the-art cricket academy in Chennai.

“It’s an absolute shock for me. I cannot believe it. He was an outstanding attacking batsman. It’s unfortunate that he did not play more for India,” said former India captain K. Srikkanth.

He added, “We also did commentary together after our playing days. He was a warm person.”

Huge blow

Former India leg-spinner V.V. Kumar said, “I live close to his house, used to meet VB regularly. It is a huge blow to all of us. Along with Srikkanth, he was the most aggressive batsman Tamil Nadu produced.”

 

 

In the last few years, VB took a keen interest in his daughters’ career in Carnatic music. He would travel with them to different cities, attending concerts. 

Tamil Nadu cricket has lost a genuinely good person, an engaging conversationalist, whose passion for the game knew no bounds. VB will be missed.

(Assistance for overcoming suicidal thoughts is available on the State’s health helpline 104 and Sneha’s suicide prevention helpline 044-24640050)