Being a footballer Chuni Goswami brought sense of fitness in our team: Former spinner Dilip Doshi

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Even the harshest of conditions would not weaken the fighting spirit of Subimal ‘Chuni’ Goswami, who also brought a “sense of fitness” into cricket from football, former India spinner Dilip Joshi said on Saturday, hailing the sporting giant.

Former India football team captain Goswami, who also led Bengal Ranji Trophy side, died in Kolkata on Thursday. He was 82.

Goswami had led the Indian team to a title triumph in the 1962 Asian Games and also captained Bengal in the Ranji Trophy final against Mumbai in 1971-72.

Doshi was Gowswami’s Ranji Trophy teammate.

“Coming from a footballing background, Chuni-da was an extremely fit athlete,” Doshi, himself a left-arm spinner, was quote as saying in an AIFF release.

“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 that sense of fitness into our cricket team,” Doshi said.

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 and 114 wickets, 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 was also always open to suggestions from different members. That made him such a great leader.

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