Bengal’s cricket family fondly remembers Chuni

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Bengal’s cricket fraternity too mourned deeply at the passing away of Chuni Goswami, who as an all-rounder led the State in a Ranji Trophy final.

Former Test cricketer Dilip Doshi said it was a privilege to play with Goswami. “It’s most saddening news to hear about Chuni da passing away. He was India’s all-round sportsman and there was much to learn from him about fitness and fighting spirit. I had the privilege to play with him for a few years when I made my debut for Bengal.”

“In the very first season, we reached the Ranji final against Bombay then (1968-69), and played at the Brabourne stadium. Chuni Goswami stood up to the occasion and played two sterling innings of 96 and 84. When he led Bengal in 1972, we played yet another final at Bombay at Brabourne.

“His will to fight the issue out was infectious and as a footballer and India’s captain as well, we learnt much about fitness attitude from him. He had a great sense of humour which he used timely to release the tension in the dressing room. India is poorer without such icons,” said Doshi.

First Class cricketer Satyabrata Mukherjee, who also played with Goswami, remembered the multifaceted icon.

“He set examples for others to follow. The best thing about him was his tremendous sense of humour. Once, a Bengal batsman was worried about the size of the sightscreen and Chuni da said, ‘Are you going to watch the sightscreen or the ball?’

“On another occasion when medium pacer Subrata Guha could not pick a wicket in the first two overs, he said, ‘Subrata, I can see the No. 3 batsman changing into a lungi in the dressing room.’

“Chuni da was very well-read; he would pick up a P.G. Wodehouse from the railway station before boarding a train. He had several other dimensions to life,” said Mukherjee.

Former Bengal captain and ex-National selector Sambaran Banerjee hailed Goswami as a natural athlete. “He was equally good in football, cricket and tennis. I was in school when I played under him for Mohun Bagan. He was always cheerful and boosted youngsters.”

Cricket Association of Bengal president Avishek Dalmiya mourned the death of Goswami, who received CAB’s Kartick Bose Lifetime Achievement Award in 2011-12. CAB’s flag will remain at half-mast on Friday as a mark of respect.

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