CHENNAI: It was around 6.30 in the evening. The sun had set over the house nestled in a corner of two streets in the posh residential area of Mylapore. The narrow lanes with parked cars wore a sombre look as the death of a well-known cricketer was being discussed in whispers — especially the cause of death.
As darkness enveloped, people from all walks of life came out of the house after paying homage to a former star. That a few camera persons were waiting with their cameras reflected his importance. The mortal remains of VB Chandrasekhar was inside the house, waiting for the last rituals and the arrival of close relatives from abroad.
Former India captain Rahul Dravid was among those who visited the residence in the evening. The tale of how VB helped Dravid sign an India Cements contract is fabled in the history of Tamil Nadu cricket. Dravid came and went. So did a few other former and current cricketers.
India opener Murali Vijay, wicketkeeper-batsman Dinesh Karthik, Chandrasekhar’s teammates WV Raman and Laxman Sivaramkrishnan were among some of the well-known faces who walked in to pay homage. So did top Tamil Nadu Cricket Association (TNCA) officials like Chennai Super Kings Chief Executive Officer Kasi Viswanathan and TNCA media manager RN Baba. Former BCCI and TNCA president N Srinivasan is expected on Saturday morning.
The cause of death, as explained by the police, doesn’t make for a pleasant conversation. As expected, family members refrained from speaking, as did the few who gathered around the house. Chandrasekhar will be cremated on Saturday morning.
The police did have explanations. Debt incurred due to loans taken to run his Tamil Nadu Premier League (TNPL) franchise had led Chandrasekhar to commit suicide, police officials confirmed on Friday. The former cricketer was found hanging at his residence on Thursday evening.
Although no suicide note was found, police officers said that after talking to family members, it had emerged that the 57-year-old had been depressed over the last few days. They think that it was caused by his inability to repay loans. In 2016, he had bought a TNPL franchise for Rs 3.48 crore. Called VB Tiruvallur Veerans for the first two years, the team came to be known as VB Kanchi Veerans.
On Thursday, the family apparently was about to make a visit to a local temple, but cancelled the plan after Chandrasekhar said he was not feeling well. He had also pulled out of the TV commentary team for the TNPL final, which was played at MA Chidambaram Stadium.
It has been learnt that mounting debts were playing on his mind and eventually pushed him to take the extreme step. According to sources, the annual franchise fee for his TNPL team is Rs 3.4 crore. Plus, the VB Kanchi Veerans had an annual operational cost of Rs 1 crore. Chandradekhar was the only non-businessman team owner in the TNPL.