Sunil Gavaskar was the first man to get 10,000 runs in Tests, and had most number of Test hundreds (34), before Sachin Tendulkar overtook him. He is one of India’s and Test cricket’s greatest openers, first Indian, barring wicket-keepers to take 100 catches in Test cricket. Apart from being on various prominent cricket committees is an analyst and noted commentator. On his birthday, here are the five things you should know about the little master.
He has worked in movies
Gavaskar first starred in a Marathi movie while he was playing for India. The movie was ‘Savli Premachi’ which was released in 1980. He also had a guest role in the 1988 movie ‘Malaamaal’, a film featuring Naseeruddin Shah in which Gavaskar played himself in a cricket match. Gavaskar also sang a Marathi song, “Ya Duniyemadhye Thambayaala Vel Konala”, which became quite popular and which showed the similarities between a cricket match and life.
An explosive debut
In his debut series, Gavaskar smashed a series of records. Known for his ability to tackle fast bowling, Gavaskar was solid in defence. He countered the West Indies bowlers exceptionally well and smashed 4 hundreds and 3 fifties, en route to amassing 774 runs across 4 Test matches at an average of 154.80.
His alleged brawl with Kapil Dev
Sunil Gavaskar allegedly was not happy when Kapil Dev declared the innings at Madras against West Indies, Sunil was batting on 236 runs and was denied the chance to go for a triple-hundred. Two years later, on the fifth day of the test against England were India was trying hard to save the match, Kapil went to the field, tried everything he can but failed.
Gavaskar who was now a captain and allegedly met with the selectors, and following a conversation with selectors, Kapil was apparently dropped. Calcutta greeted Gavaskar with chants of “No Kapil, no Test” and things turned murky.
When he walked of the field
In 1981, Dennis Lillee’s in-cutter caught Gavaskar’s pad and umpire Rex raised the finger. But Gavaskar, who thought that the ball had got his bat on the way to the pad, protested by standing his ground long enough.
Gavaskar also slapped his pads with the bat, letting the umpire know about his anger. As Gavaskar was requested to leave, Lillee reportedly made a negative comment which made Gavaskar snap. He then walked off the crease and instructed fellow opener Chetan Chauhan to walk off the pitch with him.
Chauhan did as he was told, but at the boundary rope, the both batsmen were stopped by team manager Shahid Durrani and Bapu Nadkarni, the assistant manager. Chauhan was persuaded to return to resume his innings, while Gavaskar walked into the pavilion.
His dislike for Aussies
Gavaskar’s attitude towards the Australians is not something he has ever made an attempt to hide. Writing for India Today he once called the Australian behaviour “awful”, and added: “Someday, some other hot-head guy might actually get down and you know whack somebody who abuses him”.
Later, he went on to say few words about David Hookes, who had passed away three years before in a bar brawl. Gavaskar wrote: “There’s the example of the late David Hookes. Would the Australians who use that kind of language on the field, and not all of them do, in a bar and would they get away with it? Would they have a fist coming at their face or not?”
However, he apologised shortly afterwards in a breakfast show on ESPN.