VB Chandrasekhar may have hit a 56-ball fourth-innings century in the 1988 Irani Trophy against Rest of India, to go with 160 in the quarter-final and 89 in the final of the Ranji Trophy that preceded it, but he might be remembered more for what he did in a spellbound auction room ahead of the inaugural IPL almost three decades later. It was Chandrasekhar who raised the paddle to signify that Chennai Super Kings were bidding USD 1.5 million for MS Dhoni. That was 30% of the budget cap on one player, and the size of the bid meant Dhoni got a higher pay packet than even the five 'icon' players (Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Sourav Ganguly, Virender Sehwag, Yuvraj Singh), who would each be paid 15% more than whatever their respective franchises' highest bids were.
And if it is for that one act that people remember the former India batsman who died on August 15, six days before he would have turned 58, it will still be fitting. The otherwise straightforward act had the daring and audacity of his strokeplay, the foresight of his time as national selector, the ability to spot talent that he had as coach.
Described as a witty, jovial character who was an excellent reader of the game, Chandrasekhar had become a familiar figure in his later years as a commentator on domestic cricket and an owner of one of the teams in the Tamil Nadu Premier League.
His career as player, selector and coach meant he had a bird's-eye view of the game as well as an insider's perspective, and the cricketing community in India recalled his contribution to the game with fondness.
"I am shocked and completely taken aback," R Ashwin told ESPNcricinfo in a text message. "He was a man who garnered respect wherever he went in the cricketing fraternity, had a great eye for talent and his service to game is beyond my limits of expression."
VV Kumar, who played two Tests for India and had a first-class career spanning 1955-56 to 1976-77, was Chandrasekhar's neighbour and had seen his progress from close quarters. "I knew him for more than 30 years," Kumar said. "He had that cricketing brain to judge a player, whether he is good enough or whether he could be tried in a different role and turned into a better cricketer. He had that great temperament, both as a batsman and a selector.
"He had that cricketing brain to judge a player, whether he is good enough or whether he could be tried in a different role and turned into a better cricketer"VV Kumar, the former India legspinner
"After [former India opener] Kris Srikkanth, the only batsman from Tamil Nadu who could hit any bowler - pacer or spinner - was Chandrasekhar. If you go deeper, Srikkanth might give a chance to a bowler, but Chandrasekhar never gave the bowler a chance to settle down. He had that capacity to hit any bowler, but unfortunately did not get enough chances for India.
"The special thing about VB's hitting was that he could pick the length half-a-second earlier than the others. Even if you changed lengths, yeri vandhu adipaan (he would jump down the track and hit you). Even if a coach or a captain would tell VB not to hit in the air, he would not listen and back himself to hit over the top.
"He also had a great eye for talent. Suresh Raina wasn't a T20 star, but VB picked him [for CSK] and he still continues to play for them. And Dhoni, of course."
Kiran More, who was Chandrasekhar's India team-mate and later served on the same selection panel from 2004 to 2006 - a fairly tumultuous time in Indian cricket with Sourav Ganguly sacked as captain and Greg Chappell's stormy tenure as coach - had memories of a player who trained hard and a selector whose opinions were well worth paying heed to.
"There's a beautiful ground [in New Zealand], the New Plymouth Ground. There's a hill on that ground and we named it 'VB hill'. Because what happened is, Bishan [Singh Bedi, the Indian team manager then] paaji made him run every day, with pads on, up and down the hill. He would do it at least seven to eight times during the day.
"When the match [a four-day game against New Zealand Board President's XI] happened, VB got out for a duck [he actually made 92 in the first innings, but 3 in the second]. And from the ground itself he went straight up on the hill, and didn't come down till the evening! So we called it the VB Hill. He went straight from the ground, with the pads on. Pads, gloves, helmet, he went up."
More said that as a selector, Chandrasekhar was clear-thinking and candid. "VB would always give his opinions. He knew his own mind and we respected that," More said. "He definitely had his opinions, and he would share them too, but a very good cricketing brain. We used to get along really well together as selectors. We would argue in the selection meetings, but at the end of the day, we were all great friends.
"He had his own style of talking. Always jovial, and he would drop these cricketing anecdotes from time to time. Sometimes I would find that he would just get lost in his own world. If something went wrong he wouldn't like it and would just go into his own world, in his own zone. That's why I used to tell him, 'VB, you've not come down from that hill!'"
Saurabh Somani is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo