July 10, 2009

Indian cricket

Sunny's days

Nishi Narayanan

Former Indian opener Sunil Gavaskar has turned 60 today. The Hindustan Times' Anand Vasu asks him about the World Cup win in 1983, the walkout in Melbourne in 1981, his relationship with Kapil Dev and more.

When you started, where did the self-belief come from and what made your success possible?

To be honest, I did not have plenty of self-belief when I made my debut But I was optimistical- ly confident and maybe that helped me. The fact that I was an opening batsman from schooldays helped me enormously in developing a method to combat attacks.The fact that I had to wait so long to play for Mumbai in the Ranji Trophy made me determined, and I think determination and concentration were the key.

In the same paper, Gavaskar's uncle, Madhav Mantri, the former Indian wicketkeeper, remembers Gavaskar's early days - from being mixed up with another baby in the hospital where he was born, to earning his first school cap.

Also read Ayaz Memon's interview of Sunil Gavaskar on cricinfo.com.

Who better to talk about Gavaskar than Sachin Tendulkar? The Master Blaster's close association with Gavaskar goes back to Sachin's school days, and continues to date. Sachin talks about his experiences with Gavaskar in the Hindustan Times.

During our first few meetings, it was one-way traffic as I hardly spoke. For one, I was in awe of him, and then, I wanted to make the most of being privy to the wisdom of Sunil Gavaskar. When our coaches told us to follow a particular routine and we asked why, the reply was:”SMG did this”. He was the ultimate example, and to our coaches and to us, if he did something, then we had to do it as well.

Initially, Gavaskar wanted to be a doctor. He also also mentions that playing in his balcony helped him practice with a straight bat. Read many more interesting facts about Gavaskar in his interview with Lokendra Pratap Sahi in the Telegraph.

And on Cricketweb, Swaranjeet Singh writes that Sunil Gavaskar was just the sort hero Indian cricket fans were craving for.

We were fed up of being the good guys who were happy to come second. Players who had long been playing for their batting averages than for the side ... Players who were always individuals and never members of a 'Team India' that never existed. And finally, players most of who were widely accepted as being uncomfortable (to put it mildly) against the quicker stuff. Sunil Gavaskar circa 1971 changed all that.

Veteran cricket journalist Partab Ramchand writes in Dreamcricket that Indian cricket can be divided into two eras - before Gavaskar and after Gavaskar.

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Nishi Narayanan is a staff writer at ESPNcricinfo

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