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Sunil Gavaskar

Sunil Manohar "Sunny" Gavaskar is an Indian former cricketer who played from the early 70's to late 80's for the Bombay cricket team and Indian national team. Widely regarded as one of the greatest opening batsmen in test cricket history, Gavaskar set world records during his career for the most Test runs and most Test centuries scored by any batsman. He held the record of 34 Test centuries for almost two decades before it was broken by Sachin Tendulkar in December 2005. He was the first person to score centuries in both innings of a Test match three times. He was the first Test batsman to score 10,000 Test Runs in a Career and now stands at number 12 on the group of 13 players with 10,000+ Test Runs.

Gavaskar was widely admired for his technique against fast bowling, with a particularly high average of 65.45 against the West Indies, who possessed a four-pronged fast bowling attack regarded as the most vicious in Test history. His captaincy of the Indian team, however, was less successful. Turbulent performances of the team led to multiple exchanges of captaincy between Gavaskar and Kapil Dev, with one of Gavaskar's sackings coming just six months before Kapil led India to victory at the 1983 Cricket World Cup.

Gavaskar is a recipient of the Indian civilian honours of the Padma Shri and the Padma Bhushan. In 2012, he was awarded the Col CK Nayudu Lifetime Achievement Award for Cricket in India.

On 28 March 2014, Supreme Court of India, appointed Gavaskar as the Interim BCCI President primarily to oversee 7th Season of Indian Premier League. The Court also directed him to relinquish his job as a Cricket Commentator.

Born in Bombay and growing up in the city, young Sunil was named India's Best Schoolboy Cricketer of the year in 1966. He scored 246*, 222 and 85 in school cricket in his final year of secondary education, before striking a century against the touring London schoolboys. He made his first-class debut for Vazir Sultan Colts XI against an XI from Dungarpur, in 1966/67, but remained in Bombay's Ranji Trophy squad for two further years without playing a match. An alumnus of Bombay's renowned St. Xavier's College, he made his debut in the 1968/69 season against Karnataka, but made a duck and was the subject of derisive claims that his selection was due to the presence of his uncle Madhav Mantri, a former Indian Test wicketkeeper, on Bombay's selection committee.He responded with 114 against Rajasthan in his second match, and two further consecutive centuries saw him selected in the 1970/71 Indian team to tour the West Indies.

After missing the first Test due to an infected fingernail, Gavaskar scored 65 and 67 not out in the second Test in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad, hitting the winning runs which gave India its first-ever win over the West Indies.

He followed this with his first century, 116 and 64* in the third Test in Georgetown, Guyana, and 1 and 117* in the Fourth Test in Bridgetown, Barbados. He returned to Trinidad for the fifth Test and scored 124 and 220 to help India to its first ever series victory over the West Indies, and the only one until 2006. His performance in the Test made him the second 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 Hazare and Polly Umrigar to score centuries in three consecutive innings. He was the first Indian to aggregate more than 700 runs in a series, and this 774 runs at 154.80 remains the most runs scored in a debut series by any batsman. Trinidad Calypso singer Lord Relator (Willard Harris) wrote a song in Gavaskar's honour, the "Gavaskar Calypso.

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 infamous 36 not out in the 1975 World Cup, carrying his bat through the full 60 overs against England, led Indian supporters to storm the field and confront him for scoring so slowly when India needed nearly a run a ball to win; at the end of the game India had lost only three wickets but scored 200 runs less than England. 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.

  • Gavaskar was the first Test cricket player to make over 10,000 runs.
  • He held the record for the highest number of test centuries (34) before Sachin Tendulkar went past him in 2005. He broke Donald Bradman's record 29 Test centuries going on to get 34.
  • He has the Highest runs (774) maker by a debutant.
  • He has scored the most runs by any player in a series (774) against West Indies.
  • He has the maximum no. of runs & centuries scored by a player against West Indies – 2749 runs & 13 centuries.
  • He is the only cricketer to score 4 consecutive centuries at 2 venues – Port of Spain & Wankhede stadium.
  • He is the only cricketer with 58 century partnership with 18 different players.
  • He is a joint holder of the record for scoring centuries in both the test match innings on three separate occasions along with Australia's Ricky Ponting and David Warner.
  • He also became the first Indian fielder (excluding wicket-keepers) to get over a hundred catches in Test cricket.
  • He captained the national team on and off over a period between 1978 and 1985, which included a great 2 – 0 win over Pakistan in 1979/80.
  • He was named one of the Wisden cricketers of the year in 1980.
  • He has scored 127 not out in the Faisalabad Test in the year 1983 and became the Ist Indian to carry the bat in a test match.

  • Test debut: West Indies v India at Port of Spain, 6–10 March 1971
  • Last Test: India v Pakistan at Bangalore, 13–17 March 1987
  • ODI debut: England v India at Leeds, 13 July 1974
  • Last ODI: India v England at Bombay, 5 November 1987
  • First-class span: 1966–1987
  • 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
  • List A span: 1973–1988
  • Gavaskar's 100s in first class cricket.
    1. Tests: 34,
    2. Ranji Trophy: 20,
    3. Irani Cup: 3,
    4. Duleep Trophy: 6,
    5. Rest of the World against England (his last first class game): 1,
    6. County cricket for Somerset: 2,
    7. Other games: 15.

Sachin Tendulkar equalled Sunil Gavaskar's record of first class 100s on 8 February 2013

  • Gavaskar was the first cricketer to play 100 consecutive test matches.

  • Test Appearances: 1
  • ODI Debut: West Indies v England at Bridgetown, 1st ODI, 1993/94
  • Latest ODI: West Indies v England at Port-of-Spain, 5th ODI, 1993/94
  • ODI Appearances: 5
    1. In 1980, Gavaskar received the Padma Bhushan award for his successful International career representing Team India from the former Indian President Neelam Sanjiva Reddy.
    2. On December 22, 1994, Gavaskar was sworn in as Bombay Sheriff - an honorary post, for a year, at Raj Bhavan in Mumbai in the presence of former Governor P C Alexander and former Chief minister Sharad Pawar.
    3. In 1996, The Border-Gavaskar Trophy has been instituted in his co-honour. It was decided that any bilateral Test series between India and Australia will be called as Border-Gavaskar Trophy, named after iconic players Allan Border and Sunil Gavaskar. Both these players scored more than 10,000 runs in their respective Test careers and captained their teams.
    4. "Gavaskar Stadium" in his home district of Vengurla has been named after him.
    5. On November 21, 2012, Gavaskar was conferred with BCCI’s prestigious Col. CK Nayudu Lifetime Achievement Award at the BCCI Annual Awards Function 2011-12. The Lifetime Achievement Award given to Gavaskar carried a citation, trophy and a cheque for 25 lakh Rupees and he received this award from then BCCI president N. Srinivasan.
    6. On October 15, 2017, Gavaskar inaugurated a cricket field in Louisville in the state of Kentucky in USA, thus making it the first international sporting facility named after an Indian sportsperson. The "Sunil M. Gavaskar Cricket Field", serves as the home ground for the Louisville Cricket Club, which is part of the 42-team MidWest Cricket League. Gavaskar was presented the keys of the ground by Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer.

Gavaskar wrote four books on cricket, including his own autobiography

  • Sunny Days (book)|Sunny Days: Sunny Days: An Autobiography, 1976
  • Idols, 1983
  • Runs 'n' Ruins, 1984
  • One Day Wonders, 1986