From Sachin Tendulkar to Virat Kohli – India’s cricket fraternity as well as the political class, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on Sunday mourned the death of former India opener Chetan Chauhan, who wore many hats in his illustrious career. Chauhan died on Sunday due to COVID-19 related complications after being put on life support for nearly 36 hours.Also Read - Virat Kohli to Perform Better After ODI Captaincy Stint, Ex Pakistan Cricketer Salman Butt Backs Former Captain
Chauhan, who played 40 Tests for India was 73, was serving as the Minister of Sainik Welfare, Home Guards, and Civil Security in the Uttar Pradesh cabinet. He is survived by his wife and son Vinayak. “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,” PM Modi wrote on his twitter handle. Also Read - Sourav Ganguly on Virat Kohli's Sacking as Team India ODI Captain: BCCI Requested Him Not to Step Down as T20I Skipper
“Anguished by his passing away. Condolences to his family and supporters. Om Shanti,” he added. Also Read - Leader Who Led With Grit, Passion: BCCI Thanks Virat Kohli at End of Limited-Overs Captaincy Stint
In his condolence message, BCCI president Sourav Ganguly said he was “anguished” by Chauhan’s death. “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 Indian cricket team’s manager,” Ganguly said in a statement.
“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.”
Cricket icon Sachin Tendulkar tweeted, “Saddened to hear about the demise of Chetan Bhai. He always had encouraging things to say to me & shared plenty of stories from his cricketing days with the Indian team. May his soul Rest in Peace.”
Indian captain and batting maestro Virat Kohli was also shocked by Chauhan’s demise. “Shocked to hear about the passing of Shri. Chetan Chauhan ji. May his soul rest in peace and my thoughts and prayers are with his family.”
After retiring, Chauhan served as the Delhi & Districts Cricket Association (DDCA) in various capacities — president, vice-president, secretary and chief selector — apart from being manager of the Indian Team.
BCCI secretary Jay Shah tweeted, “Deeply pained to learn about the demise of Shri Chetan Chauhan ji. In him nation has not only lost a fine cricketer but also a great human being today.
“His contribution to Indian cricket will always be remembered. My thoughts are with his family in this hour of grief.”
India coach Ravi Shastri said, “Very sad to hear the news of passing away of Chetan. He was a gritty opener and I’m sure he would have fought this battle too till the very end. Condolences to the family. RIP Folded hands.”
Chauhan was Sunil Gavaskar’s longest-serving opening partner. He formed a good opening partnership with Gavaskar, scoring over 3000 runs together with 10 century stands from 59 innings. Only Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir have put together more century partnerships for the first wicket than Chauhan and Gavaskar in Tests for India.
One of the most memorable moments of his career as an opener was the 213-run stand with Gavaskar against England at The Oval in 1979, during which he scored 80 runs.
Chauhan was honoured with the Arjuna Award in 1981. He was elected twice to the Lok Sabha from Amroha in Uttar Pradesh, in 1991 and 1998.