Sunil Gavaskar born on
July 10, 1949 at Bombay, Maharashtra, nicknamed Sunny, was a cricket player during the
1970s and 1980s for India. He is considered one of the greatest opening batsmen in the
history of the sport. He belongs to Saraswat Brahmin.His Home town is Ubhadanda-Vengurla.
He made a spectacular Test debut in 1971 scoring 774 runs in his first Test series against
the West Indies helping India to become one of the few teams to defeat the West Indies at
home in the Caribbean. Gavaskar went on to average a mammoth 70.20 runs per innings in the
West Indies throughout his career - a feat no batsman in his era was able to surpass
consistently. From then until his retirement in 1987 he was a mainstay of the Indian
batting line-up. In 1983 Gavaskar broke one of the oldest and most prestigious records in
the game: Donald Bradman's total of 29 Test centuries. Gavaskar was the holder of the
record for the most number of Test centuries (34) until 2005 when his countryman Sachin
Tendulkar broke that record. Gavaskar was the only player to score centuries in each
innings, three times (Ricky Ponting equalled this record against South Africa in 2006). He
was also the first batsman to reach 10,000 Test runs and held the record for the most
number of runs until it
was broken by Allan Border. Along with Hannan Sarkar, Gavaskar holds the dubious
distinction of being the only Test cricketer to be dismissed with the first delivery of
the Test match on three occasions.
Gavaskar was captain of the Indian team on several occasions in the late '70s and early
'80s, though here his record is more mixed. Often equipped with weak bowling attacks he
tended to use conservative tactics which resulted in a large number of
draws. Still he had several successes as captain especially a 2-0 victory over Pakistan in
1979-80 and a victory in the World Championship of Cricket held in Australia in early
1985. As a matter of fact, it was during his tenure that Kapil Dev emerged as a leading
pace bowler for the country. On the downside there was a heavy defeat against Pakistan in
1982-83 which cost him the captaincy until the 1984/85 home series against England.
Gavaskar was also a fine slip fielder and his safe catching in the slips helped him become
the first Indian (excluding wicket-keepers) to take over a hundred catches in Test
matches. Perhaps his most memorable display of catching was in a one-day international
against Pakistan in Sharjah in 1985 when he took four catches and helped India defend a
small total of 125. Early in his Test career, when India rarely used pace bowlers,
Gavaskar also opened the bowling on occasion. The only wicket claimed by him is of Zaheer
Abbas in 1983-84.
While Gavaskar couldn't be described as an attacking batsman, he had the remarkable
ability of keeping the scoreboard ticking with unique shots such as the "late
flick". On occasions however, he would resort to a very attacking mode, such as
against West Indies at Delhi in 1983 when he hooked and pulled Michael Holding and Malcolm
Marshall to reach his 100 off just 94 balls. Still his style of play was usually less
suited to the shorter form of the game, at which he had less success. He famously scored
an ignominious 36 not out carrying his bat through the full 60 overs against England in
the 1975 World Cup.
In contrast to his record-breaking 34 Test centuries, Gavaskar almost went through his
career without scoring a one-day century. He finally managed his first in the 1987 World
Cup, when he hit a blistering 103 not out against New Zealand in his penultimate ODI
innings at Vidarbha Cricket Association Ground, Nagpur.
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