How Chetan Chauhan’s legacy is helping develop cricket in Africa
Ali Raza | On 29, Dec 2020
Sadly the Indian cricket legend Chetan Chauhan was one of the many tragedies of the global pandemic, losing his life to Covid-19 in August 2020. However, his legend will now live on thanks to his ex-wife who has generously donated around 200 of his old bats to the Australian based charity Grassroots Cricket. The charity sends cricket equipment to Zimbabwe and South Africa in order to help children from disadvantaged backgrounds gain access to the beloved sport.
The founder of the charity, Tawanda Karasa, was born in Zimbabwe and came up with the charity idea after he moved to Australia in 2008. “Here in Australia, anyone can play. And that is what I wanted for disadvantaged kids back home — to be able to enjoy cricket.” Not only does the charity provide cricket equipment, but they also donate educational materials to schools. In 2018 the charity facilitated a tour of a school in Harare for the Australian cricket team. Karasa describes the school as having “no water, no electricity, no benches or even blackboards.” After seeing the children there, the team decided to donate a portion of their prize money and educational equipment. Following the channel nine news coverage of the story, further sports companies began contributing to the charity such as Havas Sport and Equipment and Gabba Sporting Products.
Anita Chauhan says that she also stumbled upon the organisation whilst watching TV and decided they would be ideal for her to give the bats to as she wanted to donate the bats to a good cause. As well as many cricket bats that will be used by the children, Chauhan has also donated one exceptional bat that will be auctioned off in order to raise money for the charity. The bat in question has been signed by Chetan Chauhan and the entire Indian cricket team who are currently touring in Australia.
The Director of Grassroots Cricket, Adrian Oosthuizen, states that the bat is made even more special by the circumstances of the tour. After all, many tours were cancelled in 2020 due to the pandemic. He said: “It is an unusual tour in unusual times, given that it took place at all.”
Oosthuizen explains that Grassroots Cricket is so much more than just teaching children cricket and improving sporting ability; it is also a means of providing young people with much-needed stability. He also believes that it will “improve health and social standards.”
Chetan Chauhan played for India from 1969 to 1981 before becoming manager of the Indian cricket team. Following his retirement in the 1980s, Chauhan moved to Australia and became the Adelaide cricket club’s captain and coach. Team members fondly remember eccentric Chetan for mentoring the younger players and turning up dressed as Gandhi and giving Hindi speech on one occasion. He was famously working as the manager during the Monkeygate scandal during the 2007 to 2008 Australia tour.