India news February 8, 2012

Rohan Gavaskar quits first-class cricket

  shares 29

Rohan Gavaskar, the former India batsman and left-arm spinner, has retired from first-class cricket at the age of 35. Eleven ODIs, 151 runs with one half-century and a solitary wicket in an international career spanning less than a year suggests Gavaskar, son of Sunil Gavaskar, did not quite make it as a cricketer. However, it is easy to forget that Rohan Gavaskar was a Bengal stalwart, and finished as the state's third-highest run-getter in first-class cricket (5073 runs in 75 games at 51.24) behind only Arun Lal and Pankaj Roy.

Now, with a young family back in his native Mumbai and business interests to look after, Gavaskar has decided it is time to shift focus. "I wasn't playing much over the last year so it is not a shock. There is finality about it now, and it is sad," Gavaskar told ESPNcricinfo. "You've been playing the game for the better part of your life and you always want to push it [retirement] back a bit."

It was a phased exit for Gavaskar. He played his last first-class game, for Bengal, in December 2009, and had a stint with the Kolkata Knight Riders in the 2010 IPL before going off the radar.

"I didn't see myself playing as a professional for any other state," Gavaskar said. "I didn't see myself playing club cricket in Bengal because my kids are in Mumbai, and it didn't make sense, having already played first-class cricket for 15 years. I have media commitments and business interests now."

Gavaskar has seen 15 years of ups and downs with Bengal, even taking over the captaincy for a couple of seasons. Despite decent form with the bat in domestic cricket after being dropped from the national side, an India recall was far from certain. Signing up for the rebel Indian Cricket League was his best chance of facing bowlers with international experience. The ICL was banned by the BCCI, and the players contracted to play in it were disallowed from playing domestic cricket in India, which meant Gavaskar did not play for Bengal in the 2007-08 and 2008-09 seasons.

Was it a wise decision to join the ICL? "In hindsight, it wasn't, especially for someone like me. It was a great decision for the younger cricketers. Some of them weren't even playing first-class cricket when they signed. Many got thrust into big IPL teams. But considering my age, it wasn't a wise decision."

Gavaskar strongly defended his view that young players had nothing to regret about the ICL despite being ostracised till the BCCI offered them amnesty in 2009. "Let me throw this question right back. Was it detrimental to Ambati Rayudu or Stuart Binny or Abu Nechim? No. The ICL didn't benefit the other [older] guys, who lost two-three precious years. Age catches up with them. Someone like R Sathish was clamoured after, but before the ICL he was relatively unknown."

Curiously, Gavaskar signed up with the ICL even while his father held a job with the BCCI and was part of the governing council of the IPL. Did it create an awkward scenario, with both men on either side of the fence?

"Not at all. Why should it be strange? My dad is not the BCCI and he clearly did not see me as a rebel," Gavaskar said with a chuckle. "To be honest, in the ICL we didn't do anything wrong. When I was 18, my Dad said 'all decisions you take are yours'. The decisions to pursue first-class cricket in Bengal, joining the ICL and ultimately retirement were all mine. He's always said 'whenever you need to talk I'm always there to give you the pros and cons.'"

Unlike his father, Rohan Gavaskar never played a single first-class game for Mumbai, although he did turn down an offer from them midway through his career. He wanted to uphold his allegiance to Bengal and said he feels proud to have been part of Bengal's cricketing fraternity.

His biggest regret is not being part of a winning Ranji Trophy side. "We reached the Ranji finals twice on the trot [2005-2006 and 2006-07] and in both cases we came really close to winning. In one of those games the umpires really sold us down the river. That left a bad taste in the mouth."

Of late, commentary stints have been keeping Gavaskar busy. But his bigger interest lies with another sport: football. Gavaskar co-owns the Pune Football Club, which participates in the I-League. Last October, Blackburn Rovers toured the country and played a game against them. Gavaskar says his aim, post retirement, is to take Pune football forward and give the sport a better profile.

Kanishkaa Balachandran is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • POSTED BY oziejune on | February 10, 2012, 15:30 GMT

    Well said Rohan, you did what you could. It is always difficult to emulate a CRICKETERING GREAT. Respect your decision and good luck with soccer and media gigs.

  • POSTED BY srinisachin on | February 9, 2012, 18:34 GMT

    well all i can say is potential is appreciated only if it is converted into performance over consistent period f time.

  • POSTED BY Unmesh_cric on | February 9, 2012, 16:31 GMT

    A handy batsman and a bit underrated left arm spinner...while watching his bowling, I always felt that he is difficult bowler to put away. Good luck with your future endeavors, Rohan!

  • POSTED BY spinkingKK on | February 9, 2012, 13:39 GMT

    Rohan scored a half century in Australia on his first tour down under. Not many cricketers can do that. Rohan had the right approach and mindset and he could have made it. It was just that he was playing at a time when the middle order was very much crowded and too many players to choose from. As a result, the selection policy was like, if you fail a couple of times, somebody else gets tried so that everybody gets a chance. The fact was that, I wanted to see more of Rohan at that time. Unfortunately, the Indian team didn't give him enough chances and didn't looked for an allrounder.

  • POSTED BY on | February 9, 2012, 13:00 GMT

    Rohan,i am from Guyana.I was still in high school when your father THE GREAT Sunil Gavaskar demolished The West Indies.To my mind he is still the greatest batsman that ever played test cricket.He was an unarmed soilder who never wore a helmet .As for you,i think you are a gentleman.You have acknowledged the fact that you don't have what it takes to assend to the pinnacle, and has decided to bow gracefully out.The cricketing world will always remember you for your contribution.God bless you.

  • POSTED BY ROLAYH on | February 9, 2012, 11:29 GMT

    aanhaan well best of luck.....

  • POSTED BY on | February 9, 2012, 11:24 GMT

    ROHAN WHY U DIDNT PLAYED FOR MUMBAI.. BENGAL CRICKET NEVER PRODUCE NOR IT PUSHES INTO NATIONAL TEAM TO MAKE THE CUT...

    U ARE A FINE CRICKETER.. I LOVED YOUR BATTING.

  • POSTED BY Jayeshji on | February 9, 2012, 10:10 GMT

    His career was totally opposite as compared to his Dad career.. Actually we should not compare also.. It will be very inhuman on Rohan's part..:P

  • POSTED BY on | February 9, 2012, 8:03 GMT

    Its sounds as bad as Vinod Kambli announcing retirement a couple of years ago.

  • POSTED BY Agnihothra on | February 9, 2012, 7:01 GMT

    Rohan was a decent player. What some one would call a bits and pieces player in Robin Singh class. Rohan played the game left handed.. had Andrew Symonds C&B and played a crucial part in a rare Indian victory against Aus in Brisbane in 2004.Had a crucial partnership with Laxman against Zim(circa 2004) resulting in a win again. Didnt do will in Champions Trophy later that year in England and everybody was mentioning the surname... after that he never played for the country again... In summary he was about as talented as a Ravi shastri(not saying much) but whatever potential he had ,he had to live in the giant shadow of his Old Man

  • POSTED BY oziejune on | February 10, 2012, 15:30 GMT

    Well said Rohan, you did what you could. It is always difficult to emulate a CRICKETERING GREAT. Respect your decision and good luck with soccer and media gigs.

  • POSTED BY srinisachin on | February 9, 2012, 18:34 GMT

    well all i can say is potential is appreciated only if it is converted into performance over consistent period f time.

  • POSTED BY Unmesh_cric on | February 9, 2012, 16:31 GMT

    A handy batsman and a bit underrated left arm spinner...while watching his bowling, I always felt that he is difficult bowler to put away. Good luck with your future endeavors, Rohan!

  • POSTED BY spinkingKK on | February 9, 2012, 13:39 GMT

    Rohan scored a half century in Australia on his first tour down under. Not many cricketers can do that. Rohan had the right approach and mindset and he could have made it. It was just that he was playing at a time when the middle order was very much crowded and too many players to choose from. As a result, the selection policy was like, if you fail a couple of times, somebody else gets tried so that everybody gets a chance. The fact was that, I wanted to see more of Rohan at that time. Unfortunately, the Indian team didn't give him enough chances and didn't looked for an allrounder.

  • POSTED BY on | February 9, 2012, 13:00 GMT

    Rohan,i am from Guyana.I was still in high school when your father THE GREAT Sunil Gavaskar demolished The West Indies.To my mind he is still the greatest batsman that ever played test cricket.He was an unarmed soilder who never wore a helmet .As for you,i think you are a gentleman.You have acknowledged the fact that you don't have what it takes to assend to the pinnacle, and has decided to bow gracefully out.The cricketing world will always remember you for your contribution.God bless you.

  • POSTED BY ROLAYH on | February 9, 2012, 11:29 GMT

    aanhaan well best of luck.....

  • POSTED BY on | February 9, 2012, 11:24 GMT

    ROHAN WHY U DIDNT PLAYED FOR MUMBAI.. BENGAL CRICKET NEVER PRODUCE NOR IT PUSHES INTO NATIONAL TEAM TO MAKE THE CUT...

    U ARE A FINE CRICKETER.. I LOVED YOUR BATTING.

  • POSTED BY Jayeshji on | February 9, 2012, 10:10 GMT

    His career was totally opposite as compared to his Dad career.. Actually we should not compare also.. It will be very inhuman on Rohan's part..:P

  • POSTED BY on | February 9, 2012, 8:03 GMT

    Its sounds as bad as Vinod Kambli announcing retirement a couple of years ago.

  • POSTED BY Agnihothra on | February 9, 2012, 7:01 GMT

    Rohan was a decent player. What some one would call a bits and pieces player in Robin Singh class. Rohan played the game left handed.. had Andrew Symonds C&B and played a crucial part in a rare Indian victory against Aus in Brisbane in 2004.Had a crucial partnership with Laxman against Zim(circa 2004) resulting in a win again. Didnt do will in Champions Trophy later that year in England and everybody was mentioning the surname... after that he never played for the country again... In summary he was about as talented as a Ravi shastri(not saying much) but whatever potential he had ,he had to live in the giant shadow of his Old Man

  • POSTED BY Shah-Ji on | February 8, 2012, 22:55 GMT

    like Majid Khan and Stuart Broad ,there are very few talented sons.

  • POSTED BY on | February 8, 2012, 20:55 GMT

    Such a long article about more than a forgotten cricketer's otherwise unnoticed retirement. Now I can sense what would happen if Tendulkar retires, may b some books on only about the date of his retirement?? Their worshipping is giving their individuals long life but doing nothing good for overall Indian cricket. Wasim Akram was as popular as Sachin, but when he retired, we all being very sad, let him go and started looking forward. One can say that all Indian population is holding Sachin on the Cricket pitch, but holding forcefully !

  • POSTED BY on | February 8, 2012, 18:59 GMT

    Let's be honest, everyone can't be Sunil Gavaskar. He certainly loved the game enough to take it up as a profession, and had just about enough talent to cut it at the first class level. However international cricket is a different ball game, more so these days where you have to be an excellent fielder ( which Rohan was!) and have to adapt to different formats to contribute to the team cause. Gavaskar Sr. is a "once-in-a-generation" kind of legend which everyone can't be. But he has maximized his potential at first class level. So good on him, and good that he can take stock of his life and focus on his priorities.

  • POSTED BY sherri_81 on | February 8, 2012, 18:40 GMT

    Rohan should have been in one of those McDowells Platinums' Have I made it large Ads :)

  • POSTED BY niraj13 on | February 8, 2012, 17:45 GMT

    Shame on all the guys who are making fun of Rohan. I would challenge you guys to hold the bat and score even 5 runs against first claas bowling. Agreed, he could not make it to the national team, but he was still one of the good batsmen of his generation. Seems like he has made a lot of runs in first claas although he could not quiet show his talent at the highest level. Just because you can't achieve anything in your own life doesn't mean you poke fun at the real achievers.

  • POSTED BY AbAdvani on | February 8, 2012, 17:30 GMT

    Wonder what he has done to deserve so much respect from cricinfo to mention about his retirement ?

  • POSTED BY on | February 8, 2012, 17:18 GMT

    Wishing him good luck as a comentator & for his future.

  • POSTED BY on | February 8, 2012, 16:37 GMT

    The fact that he couldn't play for Bombay shows his talent

  • POSTED BY on | February 8, 2012, 16:17 GMT

    he was very talented but could not do justice which often happens to sons of famous fathers..

  • POSTED BY on | February 8, 2012, 14:24 GMT

    An unfortunate career.. he had a lot of ability, as his average of 51 in domestic cricket shows. lots of guys have done a lot less & have got lot more opportunities to play for India. being the son of his father proved to be a bane more than a boon

  • POSTED BY cricdeep on | February 8, 2012, 14:07 GMT

    If he did not have the surname Gavaskar, he would not have played for India at all. Great news and did he have to wait for 2 years to know that he will not play for even Begal again??

  • POSTED BY rahulcricindia on | February 8, 2012, 13:41 GMT

    so what..is this a news!!!

  • POSTED BY Romenevans on | February 8, 2012, 13:25 GMT

    LOL! Great, else he also would have joined 4 oldies and made his debut in Indian Test team. How demoralizing and painful it will be for Sunil The legend Gavaskar to see his son like a looser and do nothing about it.

  • POSTED BY on | February 8, 2012, 12:56 GMT

    Still remember the guy who batted after bowlers and did not bowl.

  • POSTED BY Tendulkars_Tennis_Elbow on | February 8, 2012, 12:50 GMT

    i would like to take this opportunity to declare my retirement from first-class cricket as well :P

  • POSTED BY on | February 8, 2012, 12:41 GMT

    Very Sad End , I would Say,

    If he could have only replicated what his father did to Indian Cricket, Indian Cricket with him along side the Sachin Genius could have been a dream run.

  • POSTED BY on | February 8, 2012, 11:42 GMT

    Son a great legend (Sunil ) retires !

  • POSTED BY adish34 on | February 8, 2012, 10:50 GMT

    How is this even news? he hasn't played any first class cricket for over 2 years!

  • POSTED BY keshav dada on | February 8, 2012, 10:31 GMT

    Thank God ! It should have happened way before.

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  • POSTED BY keshav dada on | February 8, 2012, 10:31 GMT

    Thank God ! It should have happened way before.

  • POSTED BY adish34 on | February 8, 2012, 10:50 GMT

    How is this even news? he hasn't played any first class cricket for over 2 years!

  • POSTED BY on | February 8, 2012, 11:42 GMT

    Son a great legend (Sunil ) retires !

  • POSTED BY on | February 8, 2012, 12:41 GMT

    Very Sad End , I would Say,

    If he could have only replicated what his father did to Indian Cricket, Indian Cricket with him along side the Sachin Genius could have been a dream run.

  • POSTED BY Tendulkars_Tennis_Elbow on | February 8, 2012, 12:50 GMT

    i would like to take this opportunity to declare my retirement from first-class cricket as well :P

  • POSTED BY on | February 8, 2012, 12:56 GMT

    Still remember the guy who batted after bowlers and did not bowl.

  • POSTED BY Romenevans on | February 8, 2012, 13:25 GMT

    LOL! Great, else he also would have joined 4 oldies and made his debut in Indian Test team. How demoralizing and painful it will be for Sunil The legend Gavaskar to see his son like a looser and do nothing about it.

  • POSTED BY rahulcricindia on | February 8, 2012, 13:41 GMT

    so what..is this a news!!!

  • POSTED BY cricdeep on | February 8, 2012, 14:07 GMT

    If he did not have the surname Gavaskar, he would not have played for India at all. Great news and did he have to wait for 2 years to know that he will not play for even Begal again??

  • POSTED BY on | February 8, 2012, 14:24 GMT

    An unfortunate career.. he had a lot of ability, as his average of 51 in domestic cricket shows. lots of guys have done a lot less & have got lot more opportunities to play for India. being the son of his father proved to be a bane more than a boon