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Gavaskar@75: 15 Interesting Facts – Rediff Cricket

Gavaskar@75: 15 Interesting Facts – Rediff Cricket
Gavaskar@75: 15 Interesting Facts – Rediff Cricket

 


Cricket icon Sunil Gavaskar celebrates a magnificent 75th birthday on July 10.

Sunil Gavaskar, known for his fearless batting technique, started his Test career on March 6, 1971.

He became the first cricketer to score more than 10,000 Test runs, with an astonishing 10,122 runs and 34 centuries in 125 matches.

While his ODI record of 3,093 runs in 108 matches was respectable, it was Test cricket in which he dominated.

15 Facts About Sunil Gavaskar You Must Know:

1. 13 Test Centuries against the West Indies

Sunil Gavaskar

All photos: Kind regards Sunil Gavaskar/Instagram

Gavaskar scored 13 Test centuries during his career against the mighty West Indies, whose bowling unit included the likes of Malcolm Marshall, Michael Holding and Andy Roberts.

Gavaskar's 13 centuries against the Windies is the maximum by an Indian against a single opponent. Overall, it ranks second with Don Bradman at the top with 19 centuries against England.

2. 188 at Lord's in MCC Bicentennial match

In his international career, Gavaskar never scored a hundred at Lord's. But in the MCC Bicentennial match between the MCC and the Rest of the World XI, Gavaskar hit 188 for the ROW XI when he came on to open the innings. He missed a double ton when he was caught and bowled by Ravi Shastri.

3. First player to reach 10,000 test runs

Sunil Gavaskar

IMAGE: SG with SG batons!

On 7 March 1987, Gavaskar became the first batsman to score 10,000 Test runs. He achieved the milestone in his 124th Test against Pakistan.

4. Almost turned at birth

Shortly after his birth, he was exchanged at the maternity hospital with a fisherman child. An alert uncle, Narayan Masurekar, who had discovered a birthmark near the baby's left ear, caused a stir before Sunny (he had not yet been named) was returned to his mother.

5. Cricket Family

Gavaskar's uncle Madhav Mantri played four Tests for India and inspired his young nephew to take up tennis too.

Gavaskar's younger sister Nutan played for the Albees Cricket Club, the first women's cricket club in Mumbai, and was honorary general secretary of the Women's Cricket Association of India.

6. Personal life

Incidentally, left-handed spinner Dilip Doshi is said to have proposed Marshneil – 'Pammi', as Sunny and her family call her – to the young batsman in 1973 and the couple married on September 23, 1974.

His youngest sister Kavita married Sunny's teammate, Gundappa Viswanath, undoubtedly the most elegant Indian batsman of his time.

7. Names his son after his battle idol

Sunil Gavaskar

IMAGE: Sunil Gavarkar with son Rohan and grandson Vivaan. Photo: Kind regards Sunil Gavaskar/Instagram

His only child, Rohan, was born when Gavaskar was in New Zealand in February 1976 and represented India in 11 One-Day International tournaments.

Marshneil and Sunil named Rohan after the famous West Indian batsman Rohan Kanhai.

Rohan's lesser-known middle name, JaiVishwa, is a combination of his father's favourite Indian batsmen, ML Jaisimha and GR Vishwanath.

8. Cutting hair during a competition

Believe it or not, Gavaskar was once clipped on the field by an umpire during a Test match.

In the first Test match against England in Manchester, Gavaskar was given a haircut by referee Dickie Bird at Old Trafford in the middle of the match.

Batting in windy conditions, Gavaskar was irritated by his hair blocking his vision. He requested Dickie Bird to cut his hair. The umpire took the scissors he used to cut the threads from the seam of the cricket ball to do so. Gavaskar scored a valiant 101 in the match, but England won the Test by 202 runs.

9. Never looked at scoreboards

Sunil Gavaskar

IMAGE: Gavaskar promotes brother-in-law Gundappa Viswanath's autobiography, Wrist insured.

Gavaskar was known for not looking at the scoreboard while batting, but he knew instinctively when he was close to a milestone.

10. Left handed batting in a Ranji game

Gavaskar batted left-handed in the Ranji Trophy semi-final against Karnataka in the 1981-82 season.

He did this to counter the left-handed spinner Raghuram Bhatt. While he batted left-handed against Bhatt, he switched to right-handed batting when batting against B Vijayakrishna.

11. He was a wrestling fan

Sunil Gavaskar

IMAGE: Sunil Gavaskar has a stadium named after him in Leicester, United Kingdom.

Gavaskar wanted to become a wrestler and was a big fan of the legendary Maruti Vadar before he opted for cricket. The ambition to play for India came to him when he saw his mother Madhav Mantri's Indian team jerseys.

When he asked if he could have one of the jerseys, Mantri sternly replied that he had to earn it.

12. Leg byes to start his career

Gavaskar's first runs in Test cricket were actually leg byes that were not given. He revealed this fact in his autobiography Sunny days.

'When I went on strike after Ashok (Mankad) had made three runs, I was a little worried that I might not be good enough.Vanburn) Holder rushed down and threw at the leg stump.

'The ball hit my legguards and went to fine leg for two leg byes, but I was surprised to see the umpire didn't give any signal, so I was off by two runs when I really shouldn't have had any.

'This helped me get rid of the fear of failure and soon I had a medium ball and hit Holder to the square post fence, which was my first boundary in a Test match.'

13. A song dedicated to his adventures

Trinidadian Calypso singer Lord Relator (Willard Harris) wrote a song in honor of Gavaskar, the Gavaskar Calypso.

It was Gavaskar
From real master
Just like a wall
We couldn't beat Gavaskar at all, not at all. You know West Indians couldn't beat Gavaskar.
Gavaskar not at all.

14. The Sheriff

Sunil Gavaskar

IMAGE: Gavaskar with the T20 World Cup trophy.

Gavaskar was appointed Sheriff of Bombay for one year in 1994.

15. Relationship with show business

Gavaskar played a lead role in a Marathi film, Savli Premachi. He sang a Marathi song Ya Dunivemadhye Thambavaala Vel Konalain which the similarities between a cricket match and real life were drawn.

He also made a special appearance as himself in the Hindi film, Malamaal.

His legendary hitting technique and lasting legacy will continue to inspire generations of players.

Wish him a healthy and happy future!

Sources

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