Sunil Gavaskar reveals: How Chetan Chauhan was dropped in 1981

Updated: 24 August, 2020 08:41 IST | A correspondent | Mumbai

Batting legend writes in mid-day about how the selectors and not him, played a role in ignoring the late opening batsman for the 1981-82 series against England

Sunil Gavaskar is caught by Rodney Marsh off pacer Rodney Hogg for 10 in the second innings of the opening Test against Australia at the SCG on January 4, 1981. The then India captain managed only 118 runs in six innings during the series. Pic/Getty Images
Sunil Gavaskar is caught by Rodney Marsh off pacer Rodney Hogg for 10 in the second innings of the opening Test against Australia at the SCG on January 4, 1981. The then India captain managed only 118 runs in six innings during the series. Pic/Getty Images

Indian cricket legend Sunil Gavaskar has indicated that his former opening partner Chetan Chauhan (who passed away due to COVID-19 recently), was under the impression that he didn't support him enough to avoid the axe in 1981-82."

Chauhan, who scored a more-than-useful 85 against Australia at Melbourne, where India squared the 1980-81 series, was dropped after just one series (in New Zealand). In the second Test at Adelaide, Chauhan missed a century by three runs.

Gavaskar wrote in his fortnightly column in mid-day: "For a long time Chetan held it against me that I did not support him when he was left out of the side but like today the Indian skipper is just a co-opted member of the selection committee with no vote.

Chetan Chauhan
Chetan Chauhan

"The selection committee then comprised former stalwarts like Polly Umrigar (Chairman), Dattu Phadkar, CT Sarwate and the former captain Ghulam Ahmed was the secretary of the Board then. It's a bit unfair to give out the discussions in a selection meeting especially now that none of the members of that panel are still alive but I remember asking the panel how they could make me captain for the entire series despite me having had a poor tour of Australia and New Zealand and not wanting to select Chetan who had been the highest scorer on that same twin tour.

"I also asked that Chetan be given two Test matches to fail before leaving him out but it fell on deaf ears."

Also Read: Sunil Gavaskar's tribute to the late Chetan Chauhan: A giver, not a taker!

Gavaskar indicated that he was unjustifiably blamed by the media for Chauhan's ouster. "Blaming the non-voting captain for each contentious selection or omission still goes on as clever selectors on the 'famous' condition of anonymity leak snippets to their favourite media guys so as to blame the skipper," he wrote.

Was Chauhan finally convinced that it were the selectors and not then captain Gavaskar, who dropped him? Yes. "Chetan was finally convinced that there was not much I could have done and that's why we were back to our hugging and back slapping ways soon," Gavaskar said.

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First Published: 24 August, 2020 08:32 IST

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