Chetan Chauhan: ‘The Great Wall’ of his era

Former cricketer Chetan Chauhan.
Former cricketer Chetan Chauhan.

Chetan Chauhan was a man with a golden heart. Smile always played on his face whenever he used to talk with someone. He was my senior and also a good friend of mine. His passing is a big loss to the young players and to the country as well.

 Chetan Chauhan also concurred with me when I had exposed corruption in DDCA. When I made debut in Wellington Test in 1981, he was the opener in that match. In opening stand with Sunil Gavaskar, Chetan gave the team a good start in several Tests.

The chemistry between both the batsmen was so good that they shared 10 Test century partnerships with each other, giving a solid start to India many times. Chetan had scored 93 in Lahore against Imaran Khan and Sarfraz Nawaz, who were at the peak of their careers. A brilliant batsman, he scored 88 against a menacing Jeff Thompson on a fast-lightning track in Perth in 1977.

Likewise, Chetan also played big a inning scoring 97 against Dennis Lillee’s attack in Adelaide in 1981. He got the same honour in the 1970s and the early 1980s which Rahul Dravid received in the late 1990s and the 2000s when the latter was referred to as ‘The Great Wall’. In his time, Chetan used to be a strong wall for Indian team. He faced several fast bowlers with great determination and fearlessly. He played pacers from Jeff Thmpson to Dennis Lillee without a sign of fear and nervousness and scored huge runs giving solid base to Indian team. Really, he used to act like a wall and knew the importance of his wicket.

   It was a coincidence that when I was selected for One-Day matches during the Australia tour, Chetan Chauhan was not in the team. When I played full season for Ranji Trophy from Delhi in 1978, he had been to Australia. Yes, there definitely was a domestic season of 1979-80 when we played together.

I got to know in that season only what kind of a player he was. He was totally different from others. He was extremely soft spoken. In the same season, I had got an opportunity to play a big partnership with him aginst a team of north India. We were quite opposite as far as style of play on the field was concerned.

I used to play in quite an attacking mode, while Chetan Chauhan used to play patiently and slowly so as to settle himself for a long inning. He believed in playing long innings. It pains and gives us a feeling of immense sorrow and grief when such a personality departs from the world.

The writer is a former Test player who was also a member of Indian cricket team which won the 1983 World Cup.