Sunil Gavaskar has records by the dozen. His talent had and continued to bring him fans by the countless dozens. He was recently awarded the Col. C.K. Nayudu Lifetime Achievement Award for his excellence on the cricket field.
Here is taking a look at why he richly deserves this accolade.
1966: Is named India's Best Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year after scoring 246*, 222 and 85 in his final year of secondary education.
1968-69: Makes his Ranji Trophy debut against Karnataka, but is out for a duck. He, however, later hits 3 centuries to impress the selectors.
1970-71: Is selected for India's tour of the West Indies and makes his Test debut in the second Test in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad, after missing the 1st Test due to an infected fingernail. Scores 61 and 67 not out, hitting the winning runs which give India its first ever victory over the Windies.
Makes his maiden Test ton in the 3rd Test and follows it up with another in the fourth match before slamming a century in both innings of the fifth and final Test, which also includes his first double ton. He helps India register their first ever series victory over the West Indies, and the only one until 2006. He also becomes the first Indian to make four centuries in one Test series and also to aggregate more than 700 runs in a series. His total of 774 runs remains the most runs scored in a debut series by any batsman.
1975-76: In January '76, he makes his debut as a captain during the 1st Test against New Zealand in Auckland after regular captain Bishen Bedi suffers from a leg injury. In December while playing against England at Delhi, Gavaskar is mobbed after becoming the first Indian to reach 1000 Test runs in a calendar year.
One of his most famous knocks, but for all the wrong reasons, comes in the 1975 World Cup at Lord's against England. He carries his bat through the full 60 overs, scoring only 36 not out, leading Indian supporters to storm the field and confront him. He had the flair and the technique but was never really a flamboyant batsman. And, that's the reason he had a very average record in ODIs.
1978-79: India tour Pakistan for the first series between the arch rivals for 17 years. After narrowly missing out on hundreds in first Two tests, he scores 111 and 137 in the 3rd to become the first Indian to score two centuries in one Test on two occasions. He also passes Polly Umrigar (3,631) as India's leading Test runscorer.
Becomes the full-fledged captain for the first time with a home series against the West Indies. In the fifth Test at Delhi, he posts his fourth century for the series, scoring 120 to become the first Indian to cross 4,000 Test runs. He aggregates 732 runs at 91.50 for the series, securing India a 1–0 win in his first series as captain.
1979-80: Is stripped of the captaincy for India's tour of England amid speculations that the little master would defect to the rebellious World Series Cricket. Nonetheless, Gavaskar ends the series with 542 runs at 77.42 and is named as one of the Wisden Cricketers of the Year.
1983-84: In November '83, playing against his favourite opponent, the West Indies, Gavaskar hits his 29th Test century in 94 balls in the 2nd Test at Delhi, equalling Don Bradman's world record. He also passes 8000 Test runs in the innings, and is personally honoured at the ground by the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. In the next Test at Ahmedabad, he scores 90 and passes England's Geoff Boycott's Test world record of 8114 career runs.
In the 6th Test in Madras, now Chennai, he compiles his 30th Test century, becoming the leading centurion in the world, with an unbeaten 236 which is also the then highest Test score by an Indian. It is his 13th Test century and third double century against the West Indies.
1986-87: On December 21 1986, Gavaskar scores his 34th and final Test century, a knock of 176 in the 1st Test against Sri Lanka at Kanpur. After the Lankan series, he plays Pakistan in what is his last Test series. In the fourth Test at Ahmedabad, Gavaskar becomes the first batsman to go past 10,000 runs during his knock of 63. The following match at Bangalore on March 13, 1987, turns out to be his final Test, in which he finishes with scores of 21 and 96.
On the ODI front, after having gone through his entire career without scoring a one-day century, he manages his first (and only ODI century) in the 1987 World Cup. He slams an unbeaten 103 against New Zealand at the Vidarbha Cricket Association Ground, Nagpur, in his penultimate ODI inning.
1993: Gavaskar proves he is not only a hero on the cricket field but also off it, when during the 1993 riots in Mumbai, he helps rescue a Muslim family from a mob near his residence, telling the mob "first you have to hit me".
2008: Is forced to step down as chairman of ICC Cricket Committee after his scathing attack on match referee Mike Procter after the controversial Sydney Test between India and Australia irks the ICC. Some of Gavaskar's comments in his columns do not go down well with the ICC officials as he alleges that Procter preferred to agree with a "white player's version" than a player of Sachin Tendulkar's integrity during the racial row involving Harbhajan Singh and Australian all-rounder Andrew Symonds in Australia.
Gavaskar resigns after ICC asks the former Indian captain to choose between his job as a commentator and columnist and that of the chairman of the cricket committee.
The little master, who has been conferred with the Padma Bhushan, continues to be actively associated with the game in the capacity of a cricket expert and commentator. He also has a happy family life with wife Marshneil and son Rohan, who is also a cricketer and has played a few games for India. Here's wishing Sunny a very Happy Birthday.
Oct 23 2016,13:30 (IST)
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Oct 16 2016,13:30 (IST)