Sunil Manohar Gavaskar
Sunil Manohar Gavaskar

Sunil Manohar Gavaskar

Born: 10 July 1949, Bombay
Major Teams: Mumbai, Somerset, India.
Known As: Sunny Gavaskar
Batting Style: Right Hand Bat
Bowling Style: Right Arm Medium
Other: ICC Match Referee


Sunil Gavaskar was a complete opening batsman. He combined a rock solid defence with an ability to dispatch the bad ball for four. For a part of his career, he eschewed the cut and the hook, preferring to play within the "V". Though short in stature (5'4"), his best strokes were drives off the front foot, to both sides of the wicket. His success in his debut series in the West Indies in 1971 (774 runs at 154.80) led Lord Relator to lament in a calypso, "We couldn't out him at all!" For a large part of his career, he seemed to stand between India and defeat. Some of his best innings came in Indian losses, including 3 centuries in Pakistan. During his career, he played a significant role as India managed to score the highest 4th innings totals to win (102 out of 406/4), and tie (90 out of 347) a Test, and the second highest to draw (221 out of 429/9) one. During his 221, he personally added 179 on the last day, still the most runs scored by an Indian in a single day of Test cricket.

n 1983-84, after a string of low scores against Marshall and the West Indies, he decided to shed the shackles, and answered with a 94-ball century at Delhi. 4 Tests later, the series lost 3-0, he came in at no. 4, with India 0/2, and scored his 30th Test century, surpassing Don Bradman. His 236* in that innings still stands as India's highest individual Test score.

Slow to adjust to one-day cricket, he scored 36* off 60 overs against England in 1975. At the other end of the scale, his only century, coming in his last but one one-day match, was off 85 balls. His captaincy appeared too defensive at times, perhaps conditioned by his many solo battles as a batsman in defence of India. The highlights of his captaincy were a 2-0 Test win over Pakistan in 1979-80, and a win the World Championship of Cricket in 1985.

After having battled speedsters around the world for 16 years, his last Test innings was a classic display against spin bowling, 
a 96 on a minefield at Bangalore. His safe catching in the slips led to his being the first Indian (excluding wicket-keepers) to take over a hundred catches. Early in his career, he occasionally opened the bowling for India, which says more about India's disregard for opening bowlers than anything else. After retirement, he has been a popular, sometimes controversial commentator, both on TV and in print

Test Debut: India v West Indies at Port-of-Spain, 2nd Test, 1970/71
Last Test: India v Pakistan at Bangalore, 5th Test, 1986/87

ODI Debut: India v England at Leeds, Prudential Trophy, 1974
Last ODI: India v England at Bombay, World Cup, 1987/88

First Class Debut: Vazir Sultan Colt's XI v Dungarpur XI at Hyderabad, 1966/67
Last First Class Match: Rest of the World v M.C.C. at Lord's, 1987

Wisden Cricketer of the Year 1980
Gavaskar has also been awarded the Padma Bhushan. In December 1994 he was appointed the Sheriff of Mumbai, an honorary for a year. After retirement, he has been a popular, sometimes controversial commentator, both on TV and in print. He has written four books on cricket Sunny Days (autobiography), Idols, Runs n' Ruins and One Day Wonders. He also served as an advisor to the Indian cricket team during the home series against Australia in 2004. He was the Chairman of the ICC cricket committee till the time he was forced to choose between commenting and being on the committee. He left the committee to continue his career as a broadcaster.

His son Rohan is also a cricketer who plays at the national level in the Ranji Trophy. He has played some One Day Internationals for India, but could not cement his spot in the team.

The Border-Gavaskar Trophy has been instituted in his (co-)honour.
Sunil is married to Marshniel Gavaskar (née Mehrotra), daughter of a leather industrialist in Kanpur. They have a son Rohan.

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. In one ODI against Pakistan in Sharjah in 1985, 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 for a short spell on occasions if only one pace bowler was playing, before a three-pronged spin attack took over. The only wicket claimed by him is that of Pakistani Zaheer Abbas in 1978-79.

While Gavaskar could not be described as an attacking batsman, he had the ability of keeping the scoreboard ticking with unique shots such as the "late flick". His focus of technical correctness over flair meant that his style of play was usually less suited to the shorter form of the game, at which he had less success. His renowned 36 not out in the 1975 World Cup, carrying his bat through the full 60 overs against England, lead Indian supporters to storm the field and confront him. Gavaskar almost went through his career without scoring a one-day century. He managed his first (and only ODI century) in the 1987 World Cup, when he hit 103 not out against New Zealand in his penultimate ODI innings at Vidarbha Cricket Association Ground, Nagpur.

Career Statistics:

                      M    I  NO  Runs   HS     Ave 100  50   Ct  St
Batting & Fielding  125  214  16 10122  236*  51.12  34  45  108   0

                     Balls    M     R    W    Ave   BBI   5 10    SR  Econ
Bowling                380   15   206    1 206.00  1-34   0  0 380.0  3.25

                      M    I  NO  Runs   HS     Ave 100  50   Ct  St
Batting & Fielding  108  102  14  3092  103*  35.13   1  27   22   0

                       O      M     R    W    Ave   BBI  4w 5w    SR  Econ
Bowling                3.2    0    25    1  25.00  1-10   0  0  20.0  7.50

 (career: 1966/67 - 1987)
                      M    I  NO  Runs   HS     Ave 100  50   Ct  St
Batting & Fielding  348  563  61 25834  340   51.46  81 105  293   0

                    Balls     R    W    Ave   BBI    5  10    SR  Econ
Bowling              1953  1240   22  56.36  3-43    0   0  88.7  3.80

 (career: 1973/74 - 1987/88)
                      M    I  NO  Runs   HS     Ave 100  50   Ct  St
Batting & Fielding  135  128  16  4092  113   36.53   4  34   35   0

                    Balls     R    W    Ave   BBI   4w  5w    SR  Econ
Bowling               108    81    2  40.50  1-10    0   0  54.0  4.50

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