Former India cricketer and a Cabinet Minister in the Uttar Pradesh government Chetan Chauhan passed away on Sunday of Covid-19 related complications. Chauhan is the second Uttar Pradesh minister after Kamal Rani Varun, who held the Technical Education portfolio, to have succumbed to Covid-19.
Chauhan, who held the Sainik Welfare, Home Guards, PRD, Civil Security portfolios in the Yogi Adityanath government, was admitted at the Sanjay Gandhi PGI Hospital in Lucknow after testing Covid-19 positive on July 12. On Saturday, Chauhan’s condition worsened after he had a kidney failure and was put on life support. He is survived by his wife and son Vinayak.
Expressing his condolences, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said Chauhan had made effective contributions to public service and strengthening the BJP in UP. “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. Anguished by his passing away. Condolences to his family and supporters. Om Shanti,” PM Modi tweeted.
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. Anguished by his passing away. Condolences to his family and supporters. Om Shanti.
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) August 16, 2020
A flamboyant cricketer and Sunil Gavaskar’s longest serving opening partner in the 1970s, Chauhan represented India in 40 Tests and served the Delhi & Districts Cricket Association (DDCA) in various capacities — president, vice-president, secretary and chief selector.
His career stats — 40 Tests with 2,084 runs and a top score of 97 against Australia in Adelaide at a middling average of 31.57 — were fairly underwhelming for an opener. The most vexing aspect was the lack of a three-figure score. Chauhan stands next to only Shane Warne in the list of most runs scored without a century. He also played seven ODIs.
Chauhan was the first player in Test history to score more than 2000 runs without a hundred. He was a heavy scorer of runs in domestic cricket. In international cricket, he had built a reputation of being a gritty fighter.
One of the most memorable highlight of his cricketing career was the 213-run stand he put with Gavaskar at The Oval in 1979, breaking the then record for the highest opening wicket partnership that was held by Vijay Merchant and Mushtaq Ali, who put on 203 runs at Old Trafford in 1936. Chauhan contributed 80 runs.
After he had quit the game in the mid-80s, he shifted to politics and got elected twice as Member of Parliament from Almorah in Uttar Pradesh under a BJP ticket. Before his tenure in politics, he was appointed manager of the Indian team — during their historic 2-1 win against Australia at home in 2001 and then during their acrimonious 2007-08 tour Down Under.
Chauhan was in the eye of a storm after he was appointed as the chairman of the National Institute of Fashion Technology in June 2016, with political parties and fashion designers questioning the decision of the government. However, he held the position for only a year and was replaced after he was made the Sports Minister in the Yogi Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh.
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