Chuni-da brought over a ‘sense of fitness’ from football to cricket
IMAGE: Subimal (Chuni) Goswami had led the Indian football team to the gold medal in the 1962 Asian Games, while he also went on to captain Bengal in the Ranji Trophy including the final against Mumbai in 1971-72. Photograph: AIFF
Former Indian international cricketer Dilip Doshi, who played Ranji Trophy for Bengal, hailed late former Indian football team captain Subimal (Chuni) Goswami as the man who brought a ‘sense of fitness’ over from football to cricket.
Goswami had led the Indian football team to the gold medal in the 1962 Asian Games, while he also went on to captain Bengal in the Ranji Trophy including the final against Mumbai in 1971-72.
“Coming from a footballing background, Chuni-da was an extremely fit athlete,” Doshi, himself left-arm spinner recalled.
“Though the trend has changed in recent times, back in those days, footballers were generally far fitter than cricketers. In that sense, Chuni-da brought in that sense of fitness into our cricket team,” Doshi stated.
Goswami played 46 first-class matches for Bengal, in which he scored 1,592 runs and took 47 wickets.
“He certainly knew what background he was coming from — football. Chuni-da was always a competent cricketer, but what made him stand out was his fighting spirit,” said Doshi. “He always put a price on his wicket, and would keep fighting even in the harshest of conditions — even more than cricketers who were gifted than him. This really inspired us.”
Doshi, who has 33 caps for India in Test cricket with 114 wickets to his name, further went on to state that Goswami’s leadership qualities were unparalleled.
“He was an inspiring captain. He could always light up a room with his sense of humour. He had already captained the Indian Football Team, and his leadership qualities were visible,” Doshi maintained.
“He also always open to suggestions from different members. That made him such a great leader.”