Sunil Gavaskar
Sunil Gavaskar
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Navi Mumbai: As Indian cricket celebrates 50 years of his iconic Test debut, Sunil Gavaskar Wednesday said he wouldn't have lasted this long had it not been for a couple of lives given by none other than the great Sir Garfield Sobers.

Gavaskar was speaking at a 'Gift of Life' ceremony after 'Rotary Club of Bombay Airport', led by Nitin Mehta, facilitated congenital heart surgeries of around 150 children at the 'Shri Sathya Sai Sanjeevani Hospital'.

"In my first Test match that I was playing, I was batting on 12 and a drive outside the off-stump and the catch went to the greatest cricketer...Garfield Sobers, it went straight to him and it poked out of his hands, I was on only 12, so I got a gift of cricketing life there," the 71-year-old said here.

"That allowed me to score a half-century and keep my place in the team for the next Test," he recalled.

The legendary batsman made his Test debut on March 6, 1971 against the West Indies, a series which India won. He then went on to become the first batsman to score 10,000 Test runs.

"In the next Test also, when I was batting on 6, I slashed at the ball outside the off-stump, again it went to Sir Garfield Sobers, this time of course the ball went a lot quicker, he probably didn't see it in the background.

"The ball sometimes gets lost in the background and it hit him in the chest and by the time he would recover, the ball again dropped to the ground and I got my first Test century.

"It helped me to keep my career going for 16-17 years for the Indian team. But for those two lives, I wouldn't be here," he said and also explained how cricket is a team game," recalled the 'Little Master', who has amassed 10,122 runs from 125 Tests.

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