Gavaskar may have been a fisherman if not for vigilant relative
CRICKET: Sunil Manhar Gavaskar is a cricketer who is known the length
and breadth of this world. He captained India and has played against all
Test match playing countries, including Sri Lanka.
He has many records to his credit, but one record that will never be
broken is his achievement of being the first batsman in the world to
play 100 Tests in-a-row, when he played at Madras on September 18th 1986
against Australia in the first Test of the 1986 series. He made eight in
the first innings and missed the century in the second innings by 10
Out in the middle ... Sunil Gavaskar once in the Test team
played some fine knocks and established many records during
his playing career.
But before getting into the Indian Test team, the cricket world may
not have had the opportunity of witnessing the marvellous deeds of Sunil
Gavaskar and he may not have played cricket, but ended up as a fisherman
if not for the hawk-eye of a close relative after his birth on the 10th
of July 1949.
Gavaskar was born in a maternity ward and this relative discovered
that the wrong child was lying in the crib besides Mrs. Gavaskar. A
frantic search was made and the right child was found sleeping next to a
It was the three Tís that took Sunil to the top of the
ladder-technique, temperament and talent.
Gavaskar thrills spectators
Sri Lankans had the opportunity of seeing him play here before he got
into the Indian Test team.
He was here with the Indian Universities team in October and one
particular innings that had everyone thrilled and talking about him was
his superb unbeaten double-century in the second ďTestĒ against Ceylon
Universities (as the team was then known) up at Peradeniya. Gavaskar
made 203 not out in the Indian Universities total of 351 for one wicket
That marvellous innings had him in the trials for the selection of
the Indian Test team for the West Indies under Ajit Wadekar. As a
22-year-old, Sunil Gavaskar really stamped his class against these
fearful West Indian bowlers and he made 774 runs in four Tests. He
played several delightful knocks later on and also went on from one
record to another to earn the name of ďBombay BradmanĒ.
He first surpassed former England opening batsman Len Huttonís record
of 19 Test hundreds as opening batsman in the 1978-79 series against the
West Indies and then went on to get to Bradmanís all-time high of 29
Gavaskar is a modest man. Though he has plenty to talk about, he
never boasts about himself. When he beat Bradmanís record of 29 Test
centuries, he said: ďI would call it an achievement rather than a
recordĒ. He is a likeable character to all.
In the 100 Tests that he played without a break, he aggregated 8,092
runs from 171 innings, 12 times being not out. His highest score of 236
not out was made against The West Indies at Madras in 1983-84. That
Sunil Gavaskar took to cricket in a big way was predictable.
Striding out to the middle ... Thatís former Indian star
batsman Sunil Gavaskar who played some fine innings during
Indian Universities matches when they played against Sri
Lankan sides before he got into the Indian Test team.
His father was an experienced club cricketer and his uncle Madhav
Mantri represented India in four Tests in the 1950s. Then Gavaskarís
mother was very fond of the little fellow as any mother would be and the
mother used to play tennis ball cricket with Sunil in the early days.
His mother is quite proud of Sunilís achievements and will also have
another incident to remember her son. One day when mother and son were
playing cricket in the gallery of their home, Sunil smacked one straight
and hard and the ball caught his motherís nose. Though the old lady bled
profusely, she was game, washed herself and made no fuss about it.
In Test cricket, Gavaskar had played for India 125 times and has
scored 10,122 runs in 214 Test innings at an average of 51.12 and scored
34 centuries, exactly half of them against the feared pace attack of the
His highest score was 236 not out against the West Indies at Madras
in the 1983-84 season and altogether he scored four double centuries,
three against the West Indies and one against England.
Gavaskar scored a century and a double century against the West
Indies at Port of Spain and this followed hundreds at both Georgetown
and Bridgetown in his first tour with India in 1970-71.
First to 1,000 runs
Gavaskar became the first Indian batsman to complete 1,000 runs in a
calendar year of 1976. He aggregated 1,024 runs in 1976. He has
completed 1,000 runs in calendar years of 1978 (1,044), 1979 (1,555) and
He also became the sixth batsman in the world to score four centuries
in consecutive Tests after Everton Weekes (West Indies), Jack Fingleton,
Sir Donald Bradman, Neil Harvey (all Australia), and Ken Barrington
(England). Gavaskarís four centuries are: 128 and 42 vs England at
Bombay 1976-77, 3 and 113 vs Australia at Brisbane 1977-78; 4 and 127 vs
Australia at Perth 1977-78; and 0 and 118 versus Australia at Melbourne
1977-78. His zero and 118 in Melbourne makes him the sixth batsman to
register zero and a century in a Test.
He became the fourth batsman in the world to score a hundred on first
appearance against three specific countries after Compton, Barrington of
England and Zaheer Abbas of Pakistan.
Gavaskarís three first appearance hundreds are: 113 vs New Zealand at
Auckland in 1975-76, 113 vs Australia at Brisbane in 1977-78 and 155 vs
Sri Lanka at Madras 1982-83.