Chetan Chauhan, whose full name is Chetendra Pratap Singh Chauhan, was a stalwart of Indian cricket, particularly remembered for his indomitable spirit and courage as an opening batsman. Born on July 21, 1947, in Bareilly, Uttar Pradesh, Chauhan's cricketing journey spanned from 1969 to 1981, during which he became an integral part of the Indian cricket team. While he had technical limitations and wasn't the most flamboyant with his stroke play, his resilience, defence, and ability to face challenging bowling attacks made him a formidable opponent on the field.
Chetan Chauhan's initiation into the world of cricket began at a young age. He made his debut for the Indian cricket team as a 22-year-old against New Zealand in Mumbai. That very season, he also had the opportunity to play against the formidable Australian team. Although he had a brief stint in the early '70s, it was the tour of Australia in 1977-78 that marked the beginning of his most prolific period in international cricket.
One of the most defining aspects of Chauhan's career was his partnership with the legendary Sunil Gavaskar. Together, they formed one of the most successful opening duos in Test cricket for India during the '70s and early '80s. Their synergy on the field was evident, with ten century partnerships to their name. Gavaskar and Chauhan were the most successful Indian opening tandem in Test cricket history till Sehwag and Gambhir came up.
Chauhan's cricketing journey wasn't just about numbers; it was filled with moments that showcased his sheer determination and grit. One such instance was at The Oval in 1979, where he and Gavaskar put on a partnership of 213 runs, breaking the long-standing record set by Merchant and Mushtaq Ali in 1936. Chauhan contributed a solid 80 to that partnership. He was the only player in Test history to reach over 2000 runs without a century, though, so his efforts were not without consequence.
Outside the international arena, Chauhan was a prolific run-scorer in domestic cricket. He represented teams like Maharashtra and Delhi in the prestigious Ranji Trophy competition. His contributions to Indian cricket extended beyond his playing days. After retiring, he took on the role of a selector from North Zone and even ventured into politics, getting elected to Parliament on a BJP ticket.
Chauhan's life, unfortunately, came to an end in August 2020, during the Covid-19 pandemic, due to complications arising from the disease. However, his legacy as one of the most courageous opening batsmen in Indian cricket remains etched in the annals of the sport.
Chetan Chauhan's cricketing zenith was defined by his unwavering determination and his ability to face some of the fiercest bowling attacks of his time. He made his Test debut against New Zealand in 1969. Despite facing initial setbacks, Chauhan's perseverance saw him return to the Indian squad during the 1977-78 tour of Australia. This period marked the beginning of his most prolific phase in international cricket.
In the late 1970s, Chauhan was a regular fixture in the Indian team. His comeback was marked by a resilient 157 against Victoria, a knock that took him 516 minutes and included just two boundaries. This innings was a testament to his tenacity. His return to the Test side saw him score 88 in Perth, and from then on, he became a mainstay in the Indian team. His performances against Pakistan, where he stitched partnerships of 192, 117, and 153, further solidified his position.
One of the most memorable moments of his career was in England in 1979. At The Oval, Chauhan, along with Sunil Gavaskar, put up a 213-run partnership in the second innings. India narrowly missed the target of 438 by just nine runs. Against Australia in the 1980-81 series, Chauhan outscored even Gavaskar, amassing 249 runs in three Tests. His highest score was 97, just three runs short of a well-deserved century.
The Chauhan-Gavaskar partnership is etched in the annals of cricket as one of the most formidable opening duos. Their synergy was evident, with ten century partnerships to their name. Until the rise of the Sehwag-Gambhir pair, Gavaskar and Chauhan held the record for the most successful Indian opening duo in Test cricket. Their 213-run stand at The Oval is particularly memorable.
Their partnership wasn't just about runs; it was about understanding, trust, and complementing each other's style. While Gavaskar was technically sound and could play shots all around the park, Chauhan was the anchor, holding one end and ensuring the scoreboard kept ticking. Their combined efforts often provided India with solid starts, laying the foundation for the middle order.
After hanging up his boots, Chauhan's contributions to Indian cricket continued. He served as a cricket coach for the Indian team and was honoured with the Arjuna Award in 1981 for his contributions to the sport. But his journey didn't stop there. Chauhan ventured into politics and became a significant figure in the Bharatiya Janata Party. He was elected to the Lok Sabha from Amroha in 1991 and 1998. Later, in 2017, he was elected to the Uttar Pradesh Vidhan Sabha and served as a minister in Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath's government.
Chauhan's legacy is multifaceted. As a cricketer, he was the embodiment of perseverance and resilience. As a politician, he served his constituents with dedication. His unfortunate passing in August 2020 due to complications from COVID-19 was a significant loss to both the cricketing and political worlds. However, his contributions to Indian cricket and his indomitable spirit will forever be remembered.
Chauhan's life story serves as an inspiration, teaching us that with determination and hard work, one can overcome any obstacle and achieve greatness in multiple fields.
Chetan Chauhan's life and career are a testament to the power of perseverance, dedication, and passion. From the cricketing fields of India to the political arenas of Uttar Pradesh, Chauhan showcased an unwavering commitment to his pursuits. His journey in the world of cricket was marked by resilience. While he may not have achieved the flashy records or the iconic centuries, his consistent performances and indomitable spirit made him a cornerstone of the Indian cricket team during his tenure.
His partnership with Sunil Gavaskar remains one of the most celebrated duos in the history of Indian cricket. Together, they faced some of the fiercest bowling attacks and laid solid foundations for the team. Beyond the boundaries of the cricket field, Chauhan's foray into politics showcased another facet of his personality. His dedication to serving the people and his commitment to his political responsibilities further highlighted his multifaceted character.
Chauhan's legacy is not just about the runs he scored or the political offices he held; it's about the impact he made. He inspired countless budding cricketers with his tenacity and taught many that success isn't just about natural talent but also about hard work, determination, and an undying spirit. As we remember Chetan Chauhan, we are reminded of the power of dedication, the importance of resilience, and the impact one individual can make in various spheres of life.
Who was Chetan Chauhan?
Chetan Chauhan was an Indian cricketer who played as an opening batsman for the Indian cricket team and later ventured into politics, serving as a minister in Uttar Pradesh.
How many Test matches did Chetan Chauhan play for India?
Chetan Chauhan played 40 Test matches for India.
Who was Chetan Chauhan's most famous opening partner in cricket?
Sunil Gavaskar was Chetan Chauhan's most renowned opening partner, and together they formed one of India's most successful opening pairs.
Did Chetan Chauhan ever score a century in Test cricket?
No, Chetan Chauhan scored 2084 runs in his Test career with 16 fifties but did not manage to score a century.
What was Chetan Chauhan's role in politics?
Chetan Chauhan was a member of the Bharatiya Janata Party and served as a Member of Parliament from Amroha. Later, he was elected to the Uttar Pradesh Vidhan Sabha and became a minister in Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath's government.