After hanging up his boots, Indian football legend Subimal 'Chuni' Goswami felt like his career as a sportsperson was incomplete. That, perhaps, explains his career as a first-class cricketer. That is correct, he was not just a footballer.
Chuni Goswami played professional football for more than 10 years, for Mohun Bagan and Indian national team. In 1962, the footballer, who once chose to reject an invite for trials by Tottenham Hotspur to stay in Kolkata, kickstarted a career in cricket.
Mind you, he only turned his attention to cricket after he felt he had done his job in Indian football. That is, after playing over 30 matches for India, taking them to the 1962 Asian Games gold medal and 1964 Asia Cup silver medal.
As a right-arm all-rounder, in a career that spanned around 10 seasons of first-class cricket for Bengal, one his most memorable feat was leading the state team to the final of the 1972 Ranji Trophy which was against Bombay.
Against a team that comprised of stars like Sunil Gavaskar, Eknath Solkar, Ajit Wadekar, Padmakar Shivalkar and Milind Raje, Goswami's Bengal side lost by 246 runs.
But that was not the first time Chuni was part of the Ranji trophy final. He was part of the Bengal side that reached the final three years earlier in 1969, this time not as the captain though.
In the first innings, he scored 96 and missed his century by just four runs. More importantly, Bengal could not surpass Mumbai's total in the first innings. Whereas, in the second innings he was bowled at 84 by Milind Raje. With Goswami back in the pavilion, Bengal's resistance fell flat and they lost the match held at Brabourne Stadium in Bombay.
He also faced off against the West Indies during their tour to India in 1966 as part of a combined team from the central and east zone. He was a medium-fast pacer with a lethal in-swing in his armoury.
Goswami picked up the wicket of the great Rohan Kanhai in that match and later confessed that it was his 'most-prized scalp'. He also took a brilliant catch to dismiss Lester King after sprinting from midwicket to square leg. In the first innings, he finished with an impressive figure of five for 47 and ended the match with a brilliant eight for 97.
The result? Mighty West Indies were well beaten by Goswami and co.
In 46 Ranji matches, Goswami took 64 wickets and scored 1592 runs, including a century and seven fifties. Clearly, the great Chuni Goswamy was a sportsman par excellence.
Goswami passed away at the age of 82 on Thursday evening.