Sunil Gavaskar Biography
Last Updated – 11 July 2019
Gavaskar-An Icon of Indian Cricket
Sunil Gavaskar is a former Indian cricketing great who shone for India. Nicknamed ‘Sunny’, Sunil is often regarded as one of the greatest opening batsmen in Indian Test history and also has several records to his name. His full name is Sunil Manohar Gavaskar and he was born on July 10, 1949, at Mumbai, Maharashtra, India. His uncle was Madhav Mantri, a former Indian Test wicketkeeper. He is married to Marshaniel Gavaskar with a son Rohan, who is also a domestic level cricketer.
With great cricket influences in his family, Sunil’s interest in cricket began since his school days, where for his brilliant performances he was even named ‘India’s Best Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year’ in 1966. Since then, he has come a long way in Indian cricket, and now, although retired from the game, still plays a significant role in advising and managing affairs of the cricketing fraternity in India and as a commentator and ICC official. The major sides that Sunil Gavaskar has represented are India, Mumbai and Somerset.
Despite his diminutive stature, he was an outstanding right-hand batsman with brilliant batting technique, noted ‘late-flicks’ and impenetrable defensive stance, especially against fast bowling. Sunil was a backbone for the team’s innings in a match, along with his ability to be a good slip fielder. It was in his era that Indian cricket realized its potential and began performing well at Tests and ODI’s. Sunil made his first-class debut for Vazir Sultan Colts XI and then played on with the Bombay squad, until he was selected in 1970-71 to the Indian cricket team.
Sunil made his Test debut against West Indies at Port of Spain in March 1971 and helped India clinch their first ever win, as well as their first ever series victory over the West Indies. Playing against the fast and furious bowling of the Caribbean on lively pitches without much protective gear required lion hearted courage. Gavaskar accepted the challenge and scored massive 774 runs in his first series. For the first time, India conquered the Caribbean giants on their home soil and registered a historic 1-0 series victory. Since then, India never looked back on the cricket field. At last a little master emerged in Indian cricket who brought a lot of pride for the nation in the next decade and a half.
He played as many as 125 Tests, scoring 10122 runs while becoming the first batsman to reach 10,000 Test runs; with a record 34 centuries. His record was recently surpassed by Sachin Tendulkar in 2005. Gavaskar’s highest Test score was 236 not-out against West Indies at Madras in their 6th Test in 1983/84. He has also taken 108 catches in Tests, besides being a fine slip fielder. His last innings in test was masterful 96 against Pakistan on the spinning track of Bangalore’s Chinnaswamy stadium. He single-handedly held the Indian innings but unfortunately India lost that test by a small margin. After that, he hung his bat from test cricket.
Sunil made his One Day international debut against England at Leeds in July 1974. Since then, he has played as many as 108 ODI’s scoring 3092 runs, with an average of 35.13, and a strike rate of 62.26. He has also taken 22 catches in ODI, with the most memorable being 4 catches in an ODI against Pakistan in Sharjah in 1985. Sunil has played in the 1975, 1979, 1983 and 1987 Cricket World Cups, playing a big role in India’s 1983 World Cup win. He has played 19 World Cup matches, scoring 561 runs, with his highest ODI score being 103 not-out.
Gavaskar created many records including breaking Sir Donald Bradman’s prestigious total of 29 Test centuries in 1983 and also becoming the first batsman to reach 10,000 Test runs. Despite some outstanding performances, Sunil has also had his share of downs, like some controversial performances and unsuccessful stints at captaincy and at ODI games. Sunil was honoured with the Padma Bhushan, the 1980 ‘Wisden Cricketer of the Year’, and the Border-Gavaskar Trophy was jointly instituted in his and Allan Border’s honour.
Gavaskar’s honeymoon with cricket is still going on. He has been giving his off/on field comments and writing columns for various newspapers. His vocal cord is so sweet (just like his cover drive timing) and unbiased that people like to listen to his commentary with interest. He has penned several books, ‘Sunny Days’ being one of them.