Former India opener Chetan Chauhan passed away on Sunday (August 16) who had tested positive for coronavirus in July and recently suffered from kidney failure. He was 73 and his health had deteriorated suddenly due to the COVID-19. Chauhan, who was earlier a minister in Yogi Adityanath’s cabinet in Uttar Pradesh was on the ventilator at the Medanta hospital in Gurugram.
Earlier, he was admitted to the Sanjay Gandhi PGI hospital in Lucknow when he was affected by the deadly virus last month but was later shifted to the Medanta. However, he wasn’t recovered from the virus when his kidney failure happened. Even his blood pressure too started fluctuating on Friday and the doctors decided to put him on the ventilator.
Since his debut in 1969, Chauhan had played in 40 Tests and 7 ODIS. While in Tests he scored 2084 runs which came at an average of 31, in the ODIs he scored only 157 runs. He and Sunil Gavaskar formed a solid opening partnership and they had scored more than 3000 runs together. He also played for Maharashtra and Delhi Ranji Trophy and was also honoured with the Arjuna Award in 1981 as well.
On his death, former players like Sunil Gavaskar and Bishan Bedi paid their tribute. In a recent chat with Cricbuzz, Bedi said that Chetan Chauhan had immense courage and determination but that didn’t help him this time.
“I spoke to him about a month ago, when Chetan was in hospital in Lucknow with the virus. He told me that he likely got it from his driver, and then proceeded to repeatedly assure me, “I’ll fight it. I’ll fight it.” I believed him, for when has Chetan Chauhan not fought on the field of play?,” Bishan Bedi said.
“Such assurances were typical of the man. He enjoyed such a gritty innings in cricket. He was not the prettiest opening batsman, far from it, but he found a way to cover up his numerous limitations quite adequately. He was determination personified, and that makes him one among the enduring characters of Indian cricket. It might not seem like much to say he played second fiddle as India opener, but how many can claim to have played second fiddle to the great Sunil Gavaskar?,” he added.
Sunil Gavaskar shared to TOI, “Never in my wildest nightmares could I believe that his words about being in the mandatory overs of life would come true so soon. It’s so hard to believe that his laughter and cheerful banter won’t be there the next time I go to Delhi.”
“There’s one thing that few players of my generation and the one immediately after that don’t know is his contribution in getting tax exemptions for them. Both of us first met up with the late Shri R Venkataraman, who was the finance minister of the country then and requested him to consider a tax exemption for fees received for playing for India. In this aspect, I must add that it wasn’t just for cricket but for all sportspersons who played for India. We explained how when we were junior cricketers we had to spend a lot of money on equipment, travel, coaches, etc when we had no income at all,” he concluded.