Chetan Chauhan registered 11 Test century partnerships but never scored a century : Chetan Pratap Singh Chauhan, the prolific opener has had memorable partnerships with the Little Master, Sunil Gavaskar.
They both amassed as many as 3,127 runs at an average of 54.85 in 60 innings. The most significant one has been the 213-run partnership in chasing 438 runs target set by England at the Kennigton Oval in the Fourth and Final Test in Aug-Sept 1979, which eventually ended in a draw. Chauhan contributed 80 runs. Gavaskar scored 221 runs and the duo took India within hand-shaking distance of victory. The match, however, ended in a draw.
This partnership bettered the then record of 203 runs established by Vijay Merchant (114) and Mushtaq Ali (112) in the second innings of the drawn Second Test of the three-match series against England at Old Trafford, Manchester, in July, 1936.
In the First Test of the same series played in July 1979 at Edgbaston, they got together to put on 124 runs for the first wicket in the second innings while following-on with a 336-run first innings deficit. But this did not help the team’s cause as they fell short of the deficit by 83 runs.
The second Test of the three-match series against Pakistan played at Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore, in Oct-Nov 1978, saw these two stalwarts put up an opening stand of 192 runs in the second innings, trying to set a target, with Chauhan contributing 93 runs and Gavaskar notching up 97 runs. India lost the match.
These two prolific scorers once again got together to add 165 runs for the first wicket in the second innings of Third and Final Test played against Australia at Melbourne Cricket Ground, Melbourne, in February, 1981. Gavaskar with 70 runs and Chauhan with 85 runs ensured a victory for India by 59 runs.
In March 1981, playing in the second of the three-Test series against New Zealand at Christchurch, Gavaskar with a score of 53 runs and Chauhan with 78 runs added 114 runs for the first wicket. Since two-days’ play was washed out due to rain, the match ended in a draw.
As such Chetan Chauhan was involved in a total of 11 century partnerships with Sunil Gavaskar, out of which 10 were for the first wicket. In the First Test against West Indies, played at Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai, in December 1978, Chauhan opened the innings with Gavaskar but had ‘retired hurt’.
However, he returned to play at the fall of Vengsarkar’s wicket and scored 52 runs, adding 117 runs for the fourth wicket alongwith Gavaskar (205).
At the time of Chauhan’s retirement, his partnership with Gavaskar was the third best in the world, behind Bill Lawry-Bob Simpson (3,713 runs) and Jack Hobbs and Herbert Sutcliffe (3,366 runs).
In his 40-match (68 innings) Test career, Chauhan had aggregated 2,084 runs at an average of 31.57 with 16 half centuries out of which there were two 90s and five 80s.
The closest that he came to score a Test century was when, playing in the first innings of the second Test of the three-match series against Australia at Adelaide Oval, Chauhan, partnering Gavaskar (23) added 77 runs for the first wicket, 35 runs for the second wicket alongwith the night-watchman, Shivlal Yadav (16), 15 runs for the fourth wicket alongwith Dilip Vengsarkar (2) and 8 runs for the fifth wicket alongwith Sandeep Patil (174).
Chauhan’s was the fifth wicket to fall, caught behind by Rodney Marsh off the bowling of Denniss Lillee, after playing a very patient knock for 342 minutes and scoring 97 runs (his highest Test score) with the help of 11 hits to the fence.
Chetan, who in his Test debut innings, took 25 minutes to score his first run, which came by way of a boundary followed by a hook for a six off Bruce Taylor, is second to Shane Warne, who, with an aggregate of 3,154 runs ended his Test career without scoring a century.
It is really quite astonishing to note that Chauhan, being an opener has ended his Test career without a single century.