Memories of Sunil Gavaskar on 25 th anniversary of retirement

Discussion in 'Cricket Talk' started by Harsh Thakor, Sep 29, 2012.

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Was Sunil Gavaskar the greatest batsman?

Sunil Gavaskar 0 vote(s) 0.0%
Barry Richards 0 vote(s) 0.0%
Viv Richards 0 vote(s) 0.0%
Sachin Tendulkar 1 vote(s) 50.0%
Jack Hobbs 0 vote(s) 0.0%
Don Bradman 1 vote(s) 50.0%
Multiple votes are allowed.
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    Harsh Thakor

    Joined: May 5, 2011
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    25 years ago Sunil Gavaskar bid farewell to International cricket in the semi-final of the 1987 Reliane cup in Mumbai.He also played his last match in England at Lords scoring 188 for the Rest of the World opposing M.C.C.This stalwart was arguably the best opening batsman of all time and the best batsman of his era.Imran Khan rates Gavaskar the most compact batsman he has bowled to Gary Sobers rates him the best batsman has ever seen(above Tendulkar) and in the book compiled by Richard Sydenham of 100 all-time 11's 58 cricketers have selected Gavaskar as aginst 42 selecting Tendulkar.Amongst modern stalwarts Saed Anwar selects Sunil in his all -time 11 as well as Wasim Akram.Does Gavaskar deserve a place in the all-time world 11 above Barry Richards or Jack Hobbs?I wish readers give their views.


    No opening batsman in the history of the game has been as hard to dismiss as Sunil Gavaskar.His powers of Concentration are those of a Buddhist monk in a state of meditation. To me I cannot belive that in Cricket history there has been a batsman with greater concentration. When batting one almost felt that here was a man sitting in meditation rather than playing Cricket His determination is that of a soldier fighting in a war against the most powerful enemy but still relentlessly battling on. To the greatest bowlers he has often been a boulder unable to remove Gavaskar has rock-like tenacity. He may not have the talent or raw ability of a Viv Richards or a Sachin Tendulkar or the grace or style of Vishwanath, but to bat for your life he was the ultimate man. Technically he is one of the greatest players the game has ever seen. Sunil has an impregnable water-tight defence playing equally well on the Front and backfoot.He is a master of the Straight drive and also has a technically perfect cover drive .One of his most remarkable shots is his half drive –half flick hit through the midwicket region. For most of his career Gavaskar eliminated the hook shot from his repertoire. Ghopla Bose describes his technique as “Starting from Stance, with the body evenly balanced,with the weight evenly distributed and on he heel in particular, this being evident a the toes kept clear off the ground. He is fairly upright that is as much as his height allows him to, but the moment preceding the delivery of the ball ,he goes into a noticeable crouch,bending from knees and waist and bat raised o stump level, which makes him such a glorious driver of the ball, hitting right through it.’

    Sunil Gavaskar was born in 1949 in Bombay .His uncle Madhav Mantri was a reputed club cricketer and From his childhood Sunil was baptized into the game. Gavaskar was a student of St Xaviers School for which he scored prolifically in the Giles and Harris shield. In 1965-gg he scored 4 Centuries in Giles Shield matches. In the All-India tournament for the Cooch Behar trophy he scored 760 runs at an average of 152.He was a part of a record 421 run opening partnership, his contribution being 246 not out.In the semi-finals against East Zone he scored 222 runs and made 85 in the finals. After being adjudged the best schoolboy Cricketer he was selected to tour England to play 4 tests against London schools. In those games he compliled 309 runs. In Inter-collegiate he scored 200 for BombayUniversity in 1968-69.In a later University game he scored 327- a university record. Gavaskar then was selected to play for Mumbai in 1970 in the Ranji Trophy. He had a disappointing debut against Mysore ,failing to open his account but against Rajasthan scored 114 in an opening partnership of 279.After being selected of the Indian Universities to tour SriLanka, he scored 203.On his return he scored 176 against Gujarat in the Ranji trophy. This finally clinched his berth in the India team to tour West Indies in1970-71.
    In the 1970-71 test series in West Indies Gavaskar made his test debut. In that series he amassed a record 774 runs for a debutant, playing the West Indian paceman on bouncy tracks like a true master. Gavaskar displayed most correct technique, scoring runs without giving any chance. In the 2nd test at Trinidad he it was appropriate that Gavaskar’s stroke steered India home to give India it’s first win on West Indian soil. In that test Sunil made his debut scoring 65 and 67 not Out. For the first time the Cricket world had witnessed the mastery of the little man showing the full face of his blade hanging down in a perfect perpendicular. In Georgetown he scored his first test hundred. He followed that up scoring his first ever test Century scoring 116 in the first Innings at Georgetown. This was a historic occasion as that hundred was the first of his ultimate record 34 test hundreds. He reached his century with a glorious cover in charasterictic style.drive He followed this scoring 117 not out in the second innings at Barbados. In the final test at Trinidad he wrote an epic, scoring 124 and 220.Gavaskar executed superb drives as well as hooked the West Indian bowlers. He suffered from a toothache during the second Innings, which made his heroics all the more remarkable. Gavaskar simply seemed to be inspired by the weather and the beauty of the Trinidad sceneryTht simply diluted his pain and a gave a launching pad to his efforts.For eight hours and fifty minutes Gavaskar was in command. There was a total euphoria in he crowds after Gavaskar had reached his double hundred. The scene resembled an emperor being saluted after winning a famous battle. Sunil reached he coveted 200 ru mark with a classical drive of Utton Dowe.Gavaskar reached his double Century with a cover drive of Uton Dowe.He had become the 2nd batsmen to score a double century and a century in a single test match after Doug Walters in 1968.Michael Manley wrote “He had the perfect defence of a classical opening batsman. His driving was immaculate, left leg to the pitch of the ball, the arc of the swing perfect, the follow –through sweet. Throughout the magnificient double century,he never slashed outside the ofstump nor swung with abandon outside the legstump. When he cut he was on op of the ball and obviously preferred forcing through mid-wicket with the controlled use of the wrist, to the more dangerous business of sweeping.”

    In the innings Gavaskar was an architect designing the most perfectly designed building. On that tour he was like a fort which an enemy however hard they tried ,with all the possible resources found it impossible to Conquer. His batting enabled India beat West Indies for the first time, that to in a home series. At this stage of his career stalwart Ted Dexter stated “If there was a single part of is batting style which accounts for consistent success against he strongest attacks in the world it is his straightness of his bat. His ability to show the full face of the blade hanging down in a perfect perpendicular, wins him acclaim from among connoisseurs of batting as having the broadest bat I the game, next to Peter May.” In the 1971 Series against England Sunil made little impact. On the rest of the World tour apart from a fine 68 Sunil hardly made an impact However he learnt a lot playing Dennis Lillee on the fast,bouncy Australian pitches.
    In 1974 against England although India was humiliated Sunil at Old Trafford scored a classic Century in seaming conditions on a wet track. Sunil showed remarkable composure in difficult conditions scoring 57 and 101.In the 1974-75 series against West Indies after missing most of the tests in the final test at Mumbai Sunil scored 86 runs, rated by some as a master piece. In difficult conditions he stood like a rock simply giving an exhibition of correct technique.
    In 1976 Gavaskar averaged over 65 in New Zealand where he played Richard Hadlee’s moving ball with great precision. On the 1975-76 West Indies tour Gavaskar showed great consistency, scoring 2 Centuries at an average of 55.71 At Trindad in the 2nd test he scored a masterly 156 that won the game for India, while in the third test laid the foundation for India recording the record run chase for a win in the 4th Innings.Gavaskar negotiated the bowling with great precision and maturity and when set was simply a rock. Against England Sunil scored a classic hundred in Bombay, playing Underwood like a master. In 1977-78 in Australia Sunil scored 3 centuries in the second innings of the first 3 tests .He showed his ability to cope with the bounce on Australian tracks playing Jeff Thomson with the straightest of bats. Rarely had Australians seen a display of such technical skill by an opening batsman.However one thing is significant that he scored his centuries I the 2nd innings of those test matches when the wicket was not at it’s livliset or as bouncy as I he opening session.As aresult of his lack of height the bouncing al oftebn troubled Sunil who was not as wristy as Vishwanath.
    In 1978-79 against Pakistan in Pakistan. Gavaskar displayed some of the most solid batting against Imran and Sarafraz ,averaging 89 runs with2 Centuries. At Karachi he surpassed Polly Umrigar’s record for the most Centuries scored by an Indian batsman. In Karachi he simply stood like a rock and his defence was simply impregnable. Against West Indies at home Sunil plundered the bowling like Emperor Alexander’s army plundering forts. He scored 732 runs at an average of 91.50 including scoring 205 at Mumbai.The Mumbai double hundred was remarkable as it was scored on a rained wicket. In Calcutta in the 3rd test Gavaskar scored 107 and 182 not out becoming the first player to make a century in both the innings of a test match 3 times. In that year Gavaskar simply wrote a script in Test Cricket breaking record after record.
    On the England tour Gavaskar in 1979 averaged 77.42 scoring 542 runs. He scored consistently in the first 2 tests scoring 61 and 68 at Edgbaston and 59 and 42 at Lords. At Leeds he scored a superb 78 in seaming conditions where he displayed technical excellence. In the final test at the Oval Gavaskar wrote an epic, scoring 221-one of the great Innings of modern times. It was the performance of a true batting machine. Every bad ball was driven to the boundary and every dangerous ball was blocked with perfect defence. Wisden described it as ‘Technically flawless.”Gavaskar on his own almost led India to a famous Victory-like a soldier bringing his team to the brink of victory after all seemed lost. India chasing 438 runs felt short by 9 runs after one of the most heroic run chases in the history of the game. Gavaskar had eclipsed Len Hutton’s record of 19 Centuries for an opening batsman scoring his 20th hundred. Hutton paid tribute to Sunil that Gavaskar was the greatest opening batsman in the world. He compared Gavaskar’s knock at the Oval with Hammond’s 240 at Lords and Stan McCabe’s 232 at TrentBridge.
    On the return home tours Sunil scored 2 Centuries against a second string Australian Side. Later that season Gavaskar led India to it’s first victory against Pakistan for 27 years. At Madras he scored 166, which laid the foundation for India winning the test match and series. He was simply a rock against Imran.In that series he scored useful fifties and showed his worth.
    In 1980-81 Sunil had the worst Cricket phase of his career on the twin tour of New Zealand and Australia scoring only 3 International fifties.As a captain he had immense success in Australia leading his side to a drawn rubber in Australia.
    ,after India was humiliates for most of the tour. In New ZealandIndia lost 1-0
    On England’s tour of India Sunil was a revelation in consistency. He scored useful fifties as well as a mammoth 172 at Bangalore.In that Innings Sunil displayed Exemplary footwork and Concentration.
    On the 1982 England tour in the first tset when all the other batsman failed apart from Kapil Dev,Gavaskar scored 48 runs out of 145.He played Willis’s rising ball in difficult conditions with technical perfection. That day Gavaskar was a gardener doing his job to perfection.
    In 1982-83 on a tour of Pakistan led by Gavaskar India were humiliated. However Gavaskar gave one of the greatest displays of durability and concentration at Faisalabad carrying his bat for 127 not out.He was a soldier fighting a battle against the old enemy single –handed. He showed that day that he hade the nerves of a soldier in a crisis.
    In 1983 in West Indies Gavaskar had a disappointing tour apart from 2 fine knocks. At Georgetown he executed 147 not out while in Guyana scored a match-winning 90 in a one day game. He simply was a revelation tearing the attack by the sword and giving India it’s first One day International win against West Indies.
    In 1983-84 Gavaskar scored Centuries against West Indies and Pakistan.At Delhi he seemed a transformed player attacking the bowling .He scored his 29th century of 94 balls simply plundering the attack like an army launching a blistering attack on the enemy.He tortured Marshall as though he was a medium pacer.He hoked Marshal foe 6 and also hit aclassical straight drive of Michael Holding.He also dispatched the first two deliveries he faced of Winston Davis for boundaries.It almost seemed that Gavaskar was having batting practice!His batting was revelation and he resmled an emperor conquering territory or territory. Gavaskar had now equaled Bradman’s record of 29 test centuries.
    His 90 at Ahmedabad was a repeat of this where he tore the heart ot the Windies Quickies. In the final test at Madras he made his highest test score, scoring 236 not out. Gavaskar played with rock-like tenacity .He showed tremendous technical precision and seemed impossible to dismiss, like a boulder blocking motorcars on a highway. Gavaskar simply waged a war of attrition against Marshall ,Holding and the other quicks.A barrage of short-pitched balls were delivered and Gavaskar coped with them with the coolness of an iceberg. He gave a superb technical display in how to negotiate bouncers or short pitched stuff. He was that day a fort which however much the might of the enemy tried to attack was unable to conquer. That day his determination was reminiscent of Muhammad Ali coming back with a bang to write of his critiques.However he did it ater India was washed out 3-0 which may go against him.
    In 1984-85 Gavaskar had a bad series against England but regained form in 1985-86 in Australia.Gavaskar averaged over 120 scoring 172 not out at Brisbane and also a 150 plus score at Adelaide. To Australians his batting was an exhibition of perfect defensive batting.Gavaskar was an architect designing a bridge to perfection.
    In 1986 Sunil had an unsuccessful series against England. In 1986-97 Indo-Australia series he scored a hundred against Allan Border’s Australians. In the first test he almost led India to a famous victory scoring a breathtaking 74.His drives were an exhibition and Sunil showed that he had the ability to destroy attacks. Ironically the match ended in a tie. After that India played Pakistan.Gavaskar in that series made 94 in the first test and gave a sound start to most of the innings. However in the final test at Bangalore Gavaskar played one of test Cricket’s greatest Innings. On a wicket with the ball turning square Sunil exhibited genius. The ball would kick up from a good length and keep low when pitched short. Making a big score was almost Impossible and Sunil had to virtually perform an operation on a patient who seemed as good as dead. With the precision of a surgeon performing an operation Sunil took India to the brink of Victory. That day Gavaskar reminded me of the Russian Army resisting the Nazi fascists and winning the Battle of Stalingrad when all seemed lost.I may be biased but that day I couldn’t imagine even the Bradman’s and the Hobb’s surviving in those conditions. Sadly he fell for 96 and India lost the test by 16 runs.The master had retired in fitting style proving he was one of the greatest batsman the world has ever seen.
    In the English Summer in 1987 Gavaskar wrote an epic scoring 188, including 23 boundaries against bowlers like Malcolm Marshall and Richard Hadlee in a Rest of the World v.M.C.C.match.The way Gavaskar played was like he was giving an exhibition in the art of batting to youngsters. His footwork, defence, driving were all technically Perfect. He simply seemed a programmed machine playing. Every ball was played on it’s merit .His concentration was indescribable. The speed and hostility of Marshall and the swing of Hadlee were mastered. Appropriately that knock was scored at Lords, the Mecca of Cricket, where Gavaskar had not previously scored a hundred. Possibly this was Gavaskar’s finest innings.
    David Mcmohan described it as “a nugget of memorable perfection’.Cristopher Martin Jenkins stated ‘He executed lovely,orthodox grace when making huis century at Lords.”John Woodcock wrote “I have seen few innings with such touchand assurance.”Bill Frindall described the innings as “had character and technical perfection being studded with wristy strokes of the purest pedigree.
    In the 1987 World Cup Gavaskar scored a blistering 103 against New Zealand.However in his final International Innings Defreitas bowled him for no score. International Cricket.
    Henry Blofeld stated ‘It was the most refined and cultured form of destruction I have ever seen’
    In test matches Gavaskar scored 10,122 runs in 125 test at an average of 51 .10 scoring 34 test Centuries.He still holds the record for the most number of Centuries.Gavaskar has also scored the greatest number of test runs in a debut series and is the only batsman to make Centuries in both the Innings of a test 3 times. In first-class Cricket he scored 25,834 runs in 348 games ,with 81 Centuries at an average of 51.46.
    As a one-day player Gavaskar at times made useful contributions and adapted superbly.In 1986 he handled Imran Khan and Wasim Akram particularly well in the Sharjah Cup final.Gavaskar also played useful knocks against other sides. He averaged a sound 36 in Oneday Internationals scoring 1 Century.

    How great was Gavaskar?

    Amongst All-time Greats where would Gavaskar rank? Could he be called the greatest Opener of all time? In Gavaskar's era particularly in the late 1970's there were favourable comparisons with Bradman and Gavaskar overshadowed even Viv Richards statistically.I personally feel he is the greatest post-war defensive batsman.Len Hutton consider Sunil the best batsman of his era.He thinks Gavaskar was a greater role model in his era than even Viv Richards or Greg Chapell.Infact Hutton compared Sunil More favourably with Bradman than Viv Richards. Technically, I rate Gavaskar amongst the top half dozen of all time. As an opener I only consider Hobbs,Hutton or possibly Barry Richards ahead .Hobbs encountered Wet pitches and also had a mammoth first-class record. Barry Richards was far more explosive and could change the complexion of a game to a greater extent.Taking first –callss Cricket into account I place them just a whisker ahead of Sunil.Len Hutton and Barry Richards were superior technically but never faced the calibre of bowling Gavaskar faced nor equaled his powers of Concentration and tenacity.(Barry played only 4 tests while Hutton didn’t face as great bowling)With the Chappell brothers, Barry and Viv Richards Gavaskar was the greatest batsman of his era ..None of those batsman encountered ferocity of fast bowling to the extent Gavaskar did as Gavaskar faced the new ball as an opener. In his era he faced the greatest pace attack of all time, scoring 13 Centuries against the Windies.Viv Richards, the greatest destroyer of bowling played for the greatest side ,while in a relatively weak team Gavaskar had to virtually carry the brunt of scoring runs. No batsman in the post-war era broke so many records of test Cricket. Gavaskar scored runs all over the world in all Conditions-from the seaming English Wickets, to the fast Australian and West Indies Wickets to the turning pitches in India and Pakistan The records he set in his era were simply like writing new chapters in test Cricket’s history..His main flaw to critiques was his slow scoring unlike a Tendulkar or Viv Richards who simply turned the complexion of games.t must however be remembered that he bore the brunt of a relatively weaker team and held the team’s batting like a pivot . One weakness of Sunil is that he scored his runs at a relatively slow rate and was not a consistent match-winner. In today’s day and age that may have gone against him but remember that today the pitches are far more conducive to batting, the bowling attacks are easier to combat and batsman have protective headgear. They also have an advantage of having to face a maximum of 2 bouncers an over. In the modern era with the docile nature of tracks loadd in gavour of batsman I would have backed Gavaskar to average around 57 runs,ahead of Jacques Kallis and he may well have scored over 50 test centuries ,like Sachin.I Vishwanath was a grater stroke player and match-winner but was it not Sunil who was the architect of many an improbable draw or even victory at times.Vishy had greater natural talent but hardly had Gavaskar’s concentration, temperament and consistency .Had he played for powerful teams like West Indies and Australia he would have won twice as many or many more games. Sunil was often like the foundation of a building .It is true that sometimes he played excessively slowly, but some of his long Innings have saved, almost won, or won the day for India. In his220 at Trinidad, 221 at the Oval and 96 at Bangalore he played to the perfect tune and almost won the game. It was his batting that enabled us achieve historic first series win in West Indies.- I 1970-71..His 166 at Madras against Pakistan in 1980 and 102 against West Indies in the 3rd test at Trinidad was the foundation of a famous victories, and in Australia his hundreds in 1977-78 in the first 3 tests almost won all of them.. If not an executioner Gavaskar would certainly have been the architect of many a famous victory if he played for a strong team.It could be stated that Gavaskar did not make centuries at Kingston against the 4 pronged West Indian attack like Graham Gooch,nor scored centuries against Lillee and Thomson at heir fastest at Perth.(Georgetown and Trinidad we is happy hunting grounds I the Carribean) and he never faced Lillee an Thomson together like Roy Fredericks. Even Vishy outscored him on the bouncy Madras track I 1974-75 and in 1979-80.However if you study Gavakar’s overall record against he bowling he has faced ,to me that is only coincindental. .It was sad that Gavaskar did not play Packer Cricket. In 1977-1979. It would have been a sight seeing the little master take on bowlers of he calibrer of Dennis Lille,Andy Robets and Imran Khan.To some extent Sunil benefited by missing Packer Cricket as he faced lesser Est Indiaand Australian attacks in that era and plundered runs. 9very significant when Gavaskar is conmpared with Viv Richards and Greg Chapel as they both scored aevily in Packer Cricket against great bolwing)The great English fast bowler ,Fred Trueman rated Gavakar superior to Geof Boycott, ‘Unlike Geoff, Sunil has the ability to move into a higher gear when he situation demands.”Frank Keating superbly describes Gavaskar’s footwork “almost an artform,never faulted.”Imran Khan describes Sunil as “The most compact batsman to whom I have ever bowled .”Graham Gooch calls him a genius placing him in his all time eleven as an opener with Barry Richards.To me t was gross injustice hat Don Bradman elinmuinated Sunil from his all –time eleven.Mike Proctor even though a South African stated “Barry Richards was technically better but overall Gavaskar was a better batsman .If I had to bet on a batsman to make a hundred the first man would be Sunil.”Gavaskar has been voted as the 8th best Crickeer of the last Century,ahead of Ian Botahm and Len Hutton.Many critics remark that even Sir Don Bradman did not have to face the calibre of bolwing that Gavaskar faced.Quoting Brian Crowley of South Africa “Bradman did not have to contrend with the seemingly inevitable battery of fast bolwrs in every international team, something Gavaskar handled with graet courage.” Bob Wilis stated “Sunil was an expert at playing he rising ball and with his footwork and superb balnce he knew here his off stump was .” Ian Botham stated, “He is the best opening batsman I have seen.He can defend like Boycott at the same time keep the scoreboard ticking like Gordon Greenidge.”Mike Brearley said “He has perfect technique, good balance and is almost never rattled or made to look ungainly He never allows the half-volley to go unpunished and for is height is a remarkable player of short pitched bowling.”.Ala Davidson,rates hi technically he best batsman he has ever seen.. Above all Sir Viv Richards rated Gavaskar as the best batsman of his era,while Gary Sobrs rated Sunil as the best opening batsman he ever played with or against ‘who scored runs against the best attacks all over the world.’In 1979-80 he rated Gavaskar as the 4thbest batsman in the World.In the overall list personally,I rate him the 8th best batsman ever.(Marginally below Sachin Tendulkar and Brian Lara),just a shade ahead of Rahul Dravid. Sachin’s greater ability to dominate bowling plus his overall international record places him marginally ahead of Gavaskar. Sunil was better in a crisis but Sachin would always win more games and could change the complexion of a game to a greater extent.However in test Cricket I still rate Sunil best efforts as ahead of Sachin’s best.(Technically I rate Sunil a better player ,who was more compact)I reat Gavaskar's best test match innings superior to Tendulkar's like his 96 at Bangalore in 1987 and 221 at the Oval.Gavaskar was rated the 8th best Cricketer in the E.S.P.N.all-time list of he last Century,ahead of stalwarts like Len Hutton,Ia Botham and Barry Richards.He is rated the 23rd best Cricketer of all by Geoff Armstrong i his '100 graetst Cricketers 'book.Wisden rated him at the end of he last millenium as he 8th bestbatsman of all time.Cristopher Martin Jenkins places Gavaskar at no 25 in his all-time list.Personally I give Gavaskar the edge over Alan Border,Javed Miandad,Rahul Dravid and place him a shade below Brian Lara , Ricky Ponting and Sachin Tendulkar.The main reason was his lack of flamboyance)Perhaps Barry Richards may get the vote over Sunil in his time as he was more talented and had greater match-winning prowess.It is a photo finish between Hobbs,Hutton,Barry Richards and Gavaskar.In the modern age Rahul Dravid comes closest to matching Gavaskar,,who was more compact than the likes of Lara,Sachin or Ponting.Geoff Boycott was as difficult to dismiss and technically in the same class but did not consistently punish the loose ball like Gavaskar.Scoring 34 test hundreds should make Gavaskar an automatic choice in the all-time world 11,but it is debatable if Len Hutton should be ranked higher as most of the English cricket writers have done.


    As a captain he was perhaps ultra-defensive ,but tactically sound. He led India to home series wins against Australia, Pakistan, England and West Indies while abroad he led India to win the World Championship of Cricket. In test Cricket as a captain I feel his greatest achievement was leading India to beat a Pakistan team that seemed impossible to win. Under Sunil the Indian gained a famous victory in an improbable war.
    Gavaskar rated Andy Roberts as the best fast bowler he has faced He states that Roberts was the most complete and versatile bowler he saw who could bring a 120 over old all cut back. He rates Rohan Kanhai ,the best batsman he has ever seen, even ahead of Gary Sobers and Viv Richards., while rates Vishwanath the best batsman of his era.Gavaskar rates Imran Khan as his greatest opponent.He also revered M.L Jaisimha. and Geoff Boycot.(the best opening batsman he has ever seen )In his all time 11 Unil selecst Lille,Roberts,Trueman and Bedi amongst bowlers and Viv Ricahrds,Tendulkar,Bradman,Hutton .Hobbs and Sobers as batsman.
    From 1992 Sunil became a commentaor.In many ways he displayed the same qualities he had as aplayer revealing exceptional judgement and understanding. I can’t forget how he backed Pakistan before the 1992 world Cup semi-final.At times however he is dry and not as lively as Harsha Bhogale or Tony Greig.He also lacks the dynamism of Ian Chappell and is quite orthodox. Sometimes is comments have not been consistent like his calling Tendulkar a better batsman than Bradman in 2002 at Leeds (after SAchin equaled Bradman’s 29 Centuries) or when rating Steve Waugh ahead of Lara and Tendulkar in the late 1990’s.


    The single-mindedness of Sunil Manohar Gavaskar is a lesson for people in all walks of life. Watching him bat reminded someone of a mountaineer trying to climb a mountain peak in the most difficult Conditions and against all odds with unflinching determination reaching the goal. He is a role model for Indians

    Mat I NO Runs HS1 HS2 HS3 Ave 100 50 0

    overall 125 214 16 10122 236* 221 220 51.12 34 45 12

    v Australia 20 31 1 1550 172 166* 127 51.66 8 4 2
    v England 38 67 2 2483 221 172 108 38.20 4 16 3
    v New Zealand 9 16 1 651 119 116 71 43.40 2 3 0
    v Pakistan 24 41 4 2089 166 137 127* 56.45 5 12 1
    v Sri Lanka 7 11 2 600 176 155 74 66.66 2 3 1
    v West Indies 27 48 6 2749 236* 220 205 65.45 13 7 5

    in Australia 11 19 1 920 172 166* 127 51.11 5 1 2
    in England 16 28 0 1152 221 101 78 41.14 2 8 2
    in India 65 108 7 5067 236* 205 182* 50.16 16 23 6
    in New Zealand 6 10 1 392 116 71 53 43.55 1 2 0
    in Pakistan 11 19 2 1001 137 127* 111 58.88 3 5 0
    in Sri Lanka 3 6 1 186 52 51 49 37.20 0 2 1
    in West Indies 13 24 4 1404 220 156 147* 70.20 7 4 1

    in Americas 13 24 4 1404 220 156 147* 70.20 7 4 1
    in Asia 79 133 10 6254 236* 205 182* 50.84 19 30 7
    in Europe 16 28 0 1152 221 101 78 41.14 2 8 2
    in Oceania 17 29 2 1312 172 166* 127 48.59 6 3 2

    home 65 108 7 5067 236* 205 182* 50.16 16 23 6
    away 60 106 9 5055 221 220 172 52.11 18 22 6
    1.96 againsnt Pakistan at Bangalore in 1987-
    Negotiated a turning pitch like a surgeon performing an a operation on an incurable patient.His batting was like winessing meditation on the wosrt of tracks with the ball turning square. On a wicket with the ball turning square Sunil exhibited genius. The ball would kick up from a good length and keep low when pitched short. Making a big score was almost Impossible and Sunil had to virtually perform an operation on a patient who seemed as good as dead. With the precision of a surgeon performing an operation Sunil took India to the brink of Victory. That day Gavaskar reminded me of the Russian Army resisting the Nazi fascists and winning the Battle of Stalingrad when all seemed lost.I may be biased but that day I couldn’t imagine even the Bradman’s and the Hobb’s surviving in those conditions.

    2. 221 against England at the Oval

    This innings took India to the threshold of a record wining chase.,ultimately failing the victory target by a mere 9 runs.Every ball was played on its merit and it was an innings as close to perfection as one could see-like witnessing a batting exhibition.It was the equivalent of an epic to cricket. Every bad ball was driven to the boundary and every dangerous ball was blocked with perfect defence. Wisden described it as ‘Technically flawless.”Gavaskar on his own almost led India to a famous Victory-like a soldier bringing his team to the brink of victory after all seemed lost. India chasing 438 runs felt short by 9 runs after one of the most heroic run chases in the history of the game. Gavaskar had eclipsed Len Hutton’s record of 19 Centuries for an opening batsman scoring his 20th hundred. Hutton paid tribute to Sunil that Gavaskar was the greatest opening batsman in the world. He compared Gavaskar’s knock at the Oval with Hammond’s 240 at Lords and Stan McCabe’s 232 at TrentBridge

    3=101 and 57 AT Old Traford in 1974
    Against a high class Enlish seam attack with the ball swinging allover he place in overcast conditions Gavaskar exhibited batting mastery as few batsman have other one.His judgement was immaculate like a conductor conducting an orchestra.

    5.188 at the Oval for Rest of the World against M.C.C. in 1987
    In that knock Gavaskar resmbled a programmed machine.He displayed graet concentratio like a professor writing a thesis.His footwork was perfect. His footwork, defence, driving were all technically Perfect. He simply seemed a programmed machine playing. Every ball was played on it’s merit .His concentration was indescribable. The speed and hostility of Marshall and the swing of Hadlee were mastered. Appropriately that knock was scored at Lords, the Mecca of Cricket, where Gavaskar had not previously scored a hundred. David Mcmohan described it as “a nugget of memorable perfection’.Cristopher Martin Jenkins stated ‘He executed lovely,orthodox grace when making huis century at Lords.”John Woodcock wrote “I have seen few innings with such touchand assurance.”Bill Frindall described the innings as “had character and technical perfection being studded with wristy strokes of the purest pedigree.


    6.127 not out at Faisalabad v.Pakistan
    Facing Imaran Khan Gavaskar resembled a boulder when he was virtually playing agaisnt 13 players(Terrible Umpiring)He superbly left outgoing deliveries and dispalyed rock-like efence like a soldier fighting a battle in alien territory.. In 1982-83 on a tour of Pakistan led by Gavaskar India were humiliated. However Gavaskar gave one of the greatest displays of durability and concentration at Faisalabad carrying his bat for 127 not out.He was a soldier fighting a battle against the old enemy single –handed. He showed that day that he hade the nerves of a soldier in a crisis.

    7.205 v.West Indies at Mumbai in 1978-79
    Gavaskar demolished aWest Indian attack with great ease.He drove and cut all over the place and tore an attack consisting of Sylvester Clarke,Nobert Phillips and Vanburn Holder to the shreds.

    8.220 at Port of Spain in 1970-71
    Gavaskar resmbled asoldier fighting a war batting wihn an injuted tooth.He brillioantly drove,hooked and cut with immaculate precsion.Above all he enabled India to wi heir first series on Carribean soil. Gavaskar executed superb drives as well as hooked the West Indian bowlers. He suffered from a toothache during the second Innings, which made his heroics all the more remarkable. Gavaskar simply seemed to be inspired by the weather and the beauty of the Trinidad sceneryTht simply diluted his pain and a gave a launching pad to his efforts.For eight hours and fifty minutes Gavaskar was in command. There was a total euphoria in he crowds after Gavaskar had reached his double hundred. The scene resembled an emperor being saluted after winning a famous battle. Sunil reached he coveted 200 ru mark with a classical drive of Utton Dowe.Gavaskar reached his double Century with a cover drive of Uton Dowe.He had become the 2nd batsmen to score a double century and a century in a single test match after Doug Walters in 1968.Michael Manley wrote “He had the perfect defence of a classical opening batsman. His driving was immaculate, left leg to the pitch of the ball, the arc of the swing perfect, the follow –through sweet. Throughout the magnificient double century,he never slashed outside the ofstump nor swung with abandon outside the legstump. When he cut he was on op of the ball and obviously preferred forcing through mid-wicket with the controlled use of the wrist, to the more dangerous business of sweeping.”
    In the innings Gavaskar was an architect designing the most perfectly designed building.

    9.90 at Ahmedabad v.West Indies
    On a broken surface Gavaskar comiled aswashbuckling 90,diplaying great improvisation.He plaed an innings most untypical of himseld.

    10. 124 v.West Indies at Delhi in 1983-84

    He demolished the likes of Marshall and Holding like a tiger tearing his prey.Proved that when he intended to he could tear a great attack apart .He scored his 29th century of 94 balls simply plundering the attack like an army launching a blistering attack on the enemy.He tortured Marshall as though he was a medium pacer.He hoked Marshal foe 6 and also hit aclassical straight drive of Michael Holding.He also dispatched the first two deliveries he faced of Winston Davis for boundaries.It almost seemed that Gavaskar was having batting practice!




    11. 236not out v.West Indies In 1983-84
    Resembled boulder dispalying rock-like determination after India had lost early wickets He batted at no6 but dispalyed the grit aht few batsman have ever one,brilinatly cvombating lifting short balls fro Marshall and Holding. Gavaskar simply waged a war of attrition against Marshall ,Holding and the other quicks.A barrage of short-pitched balls were delivered and Gavaskar coped with them with the coolness of an iceberg. He gave a superb technical display in how to negotiate bouncers or short pitched stuff. He was that day a fort which however much the might of the enemy tried to attack was unable to conquer. That day his determination was reminiscent of Muhammad Ali coming back with a bang to write of his critiques.However he did it ater India was washed out 3-0 which may go against him.


    12.86 at Mumbai agaisnt West Indies in 1974-75
    In he 2nd Inings on a wearing track Gavaskar exhibited gtraet technical prowess in negotiating pace bowling.

  2. Offline

    justarslan

    Joined: Sep 17, 2012
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    No.

    Miandad is the greatest Post War batsmen.

    Bradman is the great all time batsmen.
  3. Offline

    Wistful Reminisces

    Joined: Sep 21, 2012
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