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This article was first published 3 years ago  » Cricket » Gavaskar@50: 15 interesting facts

Gavaskar@50: 15 interesting facts

By Rediff Cricket
March 06, 2021 09:52 IST
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It was this day, March 6, in 1971 that Sunil Manohar Gavaskar made his debut in Test cricket.

Gavaskar -- the first cricketer in history to surpass the 10,000 runs mark in the longest format -- was all about fearless batting.

In his historic career, Gavaskar played 125 Tests in which he scored 10,122 runs with 34 centuries to his name. He also played 108 ODIs in which he scored 3,093 runs. picks 15 facts about Sunil Gavaskar you need to know:

1. 13 Test centuries against West Indies

Sunil Gavaskar

Photograph: Kind courtesy BCCI/IPL

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

Gavaskar's 13 centuries against the Windies is the maximum by any Indian against one single opposition. Overall, it is in second place with Don Bradman at the top with 19 centuries against England.

p>2. 188 at Lord's in MCC Bicentennial game

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

3. First player to 10,000 Test runs

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

4. Almost switched at birth

Soon after he was born, he was exchanged with a fisherman's child at the maternity hospital. An alert uncle, Narayan Masurekar, who had spotted a birthmark near the baby's left ear, raised a ruckus before Sunny (he hadn't been named yet) was restored to his mother.

5. Cricketing family

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

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

Left-arm spinner Dilip Doshi, by the way, it is said, introduced 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 team-mate, Gundappa Viswanath, inarguably the most elegant Indian batsman of his era.

7. Names his son after his batting idol

His only child Rohan, who was born when Gavaskar was away in New Zealand back in February 1976, represented India in 11 One-Day Internationals.

Marshneil and Sunil named Rohan after his dad's favourite cricketer -- the great West Indian batsman Rohan Kanhai.

8. Haircut during a match

Sunil Gavaskar

Photograph: Kind Courtesy, BCCI

Believe it or not, but Gavaskar once got a haircut on the field from an umpire during a Test match.

In the first Test against England at Manchester, Gavaskar got a haircut in the middle of the match from Umpire Dickie Bird at Old Trafford.

Batting amid windy conditions. Gavaskar was annoyed with his hair blocking his sight. He requested Dickie Bird to trim his hair. The umpire took the pair of scissors he used to cut the threads from the seam of the cricket ball to do so. Gavaskar went on to score a brave 101 in the match, but England won the Test by 202 runs.

9. Never looked at scoreboards

Gavaskar was known to not look at the scoreboard while batting, but knew instinctively when he was close to a landmark.

10. Batted left-handed in a Ranji game

Gavaskar batted left-handed in the Ranji Trophy semi-final against Karnataka in the 1981-1982 season.

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

11. He was a wrestling fanatic

Gavaskar wanted to be a wrestler and was a big fan of the legendary Maruthi Vadar before opting for cricket. The ambition to play for India came to him when he saw the Indian team pullovers of his mama Madhav Mantri.

When he asked if he could have one of the pullovers, Mantri told him sternly that they had to be earned.

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.

'As I took strike after Ashok (Mankad) had got three runs, I was a little afraid that I might not be up to the mark. (Vanburn) Holder thundered down and bowled on the leg stump.

'The ball struck my leg guards and went down to fine leg for two leg byes. But I was surprised to see that the umpire did not make any signal so I was off the mark with two runs when actually I should not have had any.

'This helped me to get rid of the fear of failure and I was soon middling the ball and clipped Holder to the square leg fence for my first boundary in Tests.'

13. A song dedicated to his exploits

Sunil Gavaskar

Photograph: Kristian Dowling/Getty Images

Trinidad Calypso singer Lord Relator (Willard Harris) wrote a song in Gavaskar's honour, the Gavaskar Calypso.

It was Gavaskar
De real master
Just like a wall
We couldn't out Gavaskar at all, not at all
You know the West Indies couldn't out Gavaskar at all

14. The Sherriff

Gavaskar was appointed the Sheriff of Bombay in 1994 for a year.

15. Tryst with showbiz

Sunil Gavaskar

Photograph: Kind Courtesy, BCCI

Gavaskar played a leading role in a Marathi film, Savli Premachi. He sang a Marathi song Ya Dunivemadhye Thambavaala Vel Konala, which drew the similarities between a cricket match and real life.

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

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