Sunil Gavaskar surpassed the long-standing record of 29 Test centuries held by none other than Sir Donald Bradman. Gavaskar had the record of 34 Test centuries for two decades, which was broken by Sachin Tendulkar in December 2005. Furthermore, Gavaskar became the first to cross the 10,000 runs barrier in Test cricket. He also contributed immensely to the side via his sharp slip fielding. He was the first non-wicket keeper to achieve more than hundred catches in Tests. He has also been the skipper of the Indian cricket team at various stages in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
Early Life of Sunil Gavaskar
Sunil Gavaskar was born in 10th July 1949. He has had a strong background in cricket since his childhood. He is the nephew of the former Indian test cricketer Madhav Mantri. With the cricket influences within the family, his interest in cricket began from his school days. In fact he was such an accomplished player even back then that he was named India's Best Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year' in 1966. Gavaskar was born in a Marathi family. He is married to Marshaneil Gavaskar and has a son, Rohan Sunil Gavaskar, who is also a domestic cricket player.
Cricket Debut of Sunil Gavaskar
Gavaskar began his cricket career with a dream performance at West Indies in 1971, and went on to acquire more runs, more hundreds and more appearances than anyone else in Test history until he retired. Though he was kept out of the first test at Kingston due to a hand injury, he entered the second test with a smashing performance. He established a new record of the highest aggregate in a maiden series, beating 703 set by George Headley, the 'Black Bradman', against England in 1929-30. He was the first Indian to achieve an aggregate of more than 700 runs in a series. His superb performance made him the first player after Doug Walters to score a century and double century in the same match. He also became the first Indian to make four centuries in one Test series, the second Indian after Vijay Hazare to score two centuries in the same Test, and the third after Vijay Hazare and Polly Umrigar to score centuries in three consecutive innings.
Sunil Gavaskar in the India-Pakistan Match
In the India-Pakistantest matches from 1978-79, Sunil Gavaskar put up a memorable performance. He is well known for having made two centuries in one test. Though India was defeated in the series, the tour ended in personal glory for Gavaskar. He scored 447 runs in three Tests at an average of 89.40. In the first drawn Test at Faislabad, he scored 89 and 8 not out. In the remaining two at Lahore and Karachi, both of which India lost; he scored 5 and 97 and 111 and 137. This was the second time he had scored two centuries in one Test. Only Herbert Sutcliffe (England) and Clyde Walcott (West Indies) had achieved this distinction earlier. The Pakistan test-series saw the further rise of Gavaskar.
International Cricket Career of Sunil Gavaskar
Gavaskar started his international career with a smashing performance against the West Indies in 1971, plummeted him to the ranks of the top international players. This was followed by a couple of matches against England in 1971-72 and 73. The 1974-75 test series marked the beginning of a record streak of 106 test appearances by Gavaskar. The match in New Zealand and West Indies saw him assuming leadership of the Indian team for the first time, which he subsequently led to victory. Gavaskar's international graph displays a number of impressive performances including the ones in West Indies in 1974, New Zealand and England in 1976, Australia in 1977-78, and Australia again in 1985-86. Gavaskar's final season in test cricket came in 1986-87, when India faced a long series of eleven home tests. As regards his ODI career, Sunil Gavaskar almost went through his career without scoring a one-day century. He managed his first (and only ODI century) 1987 World Cup, when he hit 103 not out against New Zealand in his second-last ODI innings at Vidarbha C A Ground, Nagpur. He has performed in a record number of 106 test matches.
Sunil Gavaskar as Captain
Sunil Gavaskar has been made the captain of the Indian team on various occasions, in the late 1970's and early 1980's. Though his record as a captain is not as impressive as his personal career graph as a player, he has led India to victory on different occasions. He captained India to nine victories and eight losses, but most of the games were drawn. The very first time Gavaskar had any experience of captaining the team was in the series against New Zealand (1975-76), when following an injury Bishen Singh Bedi was unable to assume the leadership of the team. Gavaskar as the vice-captain stepped up to lead the team. He was officially appointed captain for the West Indies tour of India in 1978.
Batting and Fielding Averages
Sunil Gavaskar as Cricket Commentator/Columnist
Gavaskar put up the most successful stint as cricket commentator after retiring from cricket. A widely read columnist, he went on to become one of the most celebrated and sought-after TV commentators in the world. He is articulate to the point and precise in his commentary style. A judicious analysis and realistic assessment make his commentary a good listen. Moreover, his speech is not marred by an English or Australian accent as was the norm with most others. Thus Gavaskar's post-retirement role as a commentator proved to be the most successful one. Gavaskar though now retired from the game, continues to play a significant role in advising and managing affairs of the cricketing fraternity in India and as a commentator and ICC official. Sunil has written cricket related column for various leading newspapers, and appears in news channels as expert analyst.
Sunil Gavaskar in Entertainment Arena
Sunil Gavaskar tried his best on the silver screen. He played the lead role in the Marathi movie "Savli Premachi". The movie did not receive much appreciation though. After many years he appeared in a guest role in a Hindi movie "Maalamaal". He has sung a Marathi song "Ya Duniyemadhye Thambayaala Vel Konala" which was written by noted Marathi lyricist Shantaram Nandgaonkar. The song depicted the similarities between a cricket match and real life.
Honours to Sunil Gavaskar
• In 1980, Gavaskar received the Padma Bhushan award.
• On December 22, 1994, Gavaskar was sworn in as Bombay Sheriff.
• In 1996, The Border-Gavaskar Trophy has been instituted in his co-honour.
• "Gavaskar Stadium" in his home district of Vengurla has been named after him.
• In 2003, he became the first and till now the only Indian to have delivered a MCC Spirit Of Cricket Cowdrey Lecture.
• On November 21, 2012, Gavaskar was conferred with BCCI’s prestigious Col. CK Nayudu Lifetime Achievement Award.
• On October 15, 2017, Gavaskar inaugurated the "Sunil M. Gavaskar Cricket Field", in Louisville in the state of Kentucky in United States.