Sunil Gavaskar

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Graphic courtesy: The Times of India

This is a collection of articles archived for the excellence of their content.

Childhood and teens

As he turned 60, parents recalled Sunny's childhood Pradeep Vijayakar,TNN | Jul 11, 2009 The Times of India<> Mid-day

Sunil Gavaskar's parents Manohar and Meenal refuse to take much credit for the greatness of their son. (Manohar Gavaskar worked for a textile firm. He was a good club cricketer, who used to keep wicket and open the batting. He was also a hard-hitting batsman, who scored a splendid hundred in the Kanga League for Rajasthan Sports Club in the late 1950s. He was also the captain and a very aggressive captain at that.)

About Gavaskar's greatness on and off the field, all that Papa Gavaskar says is,"It's just the divine gift he has of sifting the weed from the chaff. Looking at the kind of stuff he has been exposed to, the varied people he has met, Sunil had every chance of being influenced in some way or another. The great thing is that he has taken the right path and this would not have happened without divine help".

Manohar said the genesis of Sunil's cricketing prowess lay in the family which was full of cricketers. "His grandparents from mother's and father's side were school chums and played together in the early part of the last century in Shirode near Goa. My elder brother Baban was a left-arm spinner in the class of Bapu Nadkarni and I played club cricket. Sunil's uncle Madhav Mantri played for India. What more do you need." The dad said Sunil never made any demands on them because of his powers of observation. "He saw what austere life we had to live once our breadearner, my uncle, passed away prematurely. That meant me surrendering Rs 95 of the Rs 100 salary to my aunt, the balance Rs 5 to my wife for her personal expenses."

The only tough demand Sunil made was when he wanted to watch, as a 16-year-old, the opening day of a Mumbai Test match right from the outset, including how the teams trained and how they came to the field. Recalls Manohar, "I colluded with him, gave him a leave note saying he had a headache. The next day the principal asked him,'How was the match?'. I was summoned by the principal who said, 'Today you have encouraged a lie, tomorrow he may lie to you.'. Shame-faced I told principal Kamath Nunes I was wrong and the mistake would never be repeated. That was a lesson in honesty that Sunil learnt for life."

"The schoolteachers at St Xavier's High School were of a kind and they shaped Sunil's character in a major way," he said.

The genesis of Gavaskar's decisive self is mirrored in another anecdote. This writer [Pradeep Vijayakar] and he both applied for MBA at Bajaj Institute of Management. Gavaskar got a call. The father takes up the story, "I used some influence from some agents of the Bajaj Group to push Sunil's claims. At the viva voce, one Col. Bose told him that with the amount of cricket he played would mean him missing the lectures and projects which are never repeated. So he asked him whether he was more keen on MBA or cricket. Sunil promptly said,'Cricket,' and that was that. I admired him for that."

Gavaskar's lesson in democracy was honed by the nightly family meetings. Manohar recalls, "The children would open up before us and we would guide them. Once Sunil asked me which subject to pick, French or Sanskrit. I told him I had little time to teach Sanksrit, which I knew. Mother, who had time, could cope with French and French it was for Sunil and he took the decision."

Likewise, Sunil accepted dad's advice not to take up a job and continue playing collegiate and university cricket. "University cricket was played countrywide and was competitive and got good press coverage. Office cricket was restricted to Mumbai. Sunil agreed, made tons of runs for Bombay University. Luckily the Vizzy trophy, a zonal tournament, was created just then and the cream of the varsity talent was on view. Sunil scored heavily in the first edition, went to Sri Lanka, scored there as well and never looked back. I remember chairman of the selection committee, Vijay Merchant, saying in one of his radio shows that after skipper Ajit Wadekar, Sunil's was the second certainty for India selection."

Manohar related a tale which indicated Sunil's feelings. "A singing beggar would come to our colony. Lest his singing be interrupted by having to collect the coins thrown at him, Sunil would go down, collect the coins on his behalf and hand them over to the beggar. Who would have thought in these terms?"

There's another tale about his 'Matrubhakti' (devotion to mother). "His mother was in a VIP enclosure at Bangalore and Sunil came all the way from the commentary box to touch her feet. An Englishman was amazed to see a legend do this in full public view and asked the significance of it. He was told it was how Indians respected their elders."

The bottomline for Sunil, says the dad, is that he has met so many people, has had invitation from the power brokers in politics but has steered clear of power blocks.

Sunil doesn't have any dreams unfulfilled but the father hopes that the academy for which the government gave him a plot comes up. Also that a Gavaskar stadium in his home district of Vengurla also gets completed. "It was begun over a decade ago."

1981: Melbourne

The Times of India

Dec 28 2014

I regret my act of dissent in 1981: Gavaskar

Melbourne

Almost three decades after the infamous walkout incident in the Melbourne cricket Test which generated huge controversy, former India captain Sunil Gavaskar today regretted his act of dissent and said that it was a big mistake on his part. In the 1981 series that had been dogged by some inconsistent umpiring, a Dennis Lillee in-cutter caught Gavaskar plumb in front and umpire Rex Whitehead, standing in just his third Test, raised the finger.

But Gavaskar, who thought that the ball had got his bat on the way to the pad, protested by standing his ground long enough.

Gavaskar also slapped his pads with the bat, letting the umpire know about his anger. As Gavaskar reluc tantly started to leave, Lillee reportedly made one comment too many and the Indian snapped, returned to the crease and instructed fellow opener Chetan Chauhan to walk off the pitch with him.

A bemused Chauhan did as he was told, but at the boundary rope, the batsmen were met by team manager Shahid Durrani and Bapu Nadkarni, the assistant manager. Chauhan was persuaded to return to resume his innings, while Gavaskar walked into the pavilion.

“I regret the decision. It was a big mistake on my part. As Indian captain I was not supposed to act in that manner. In no way I can justify my act of defiance. Whether I was out or not, I should not have reacted that way ,“ Gavaskar said during a tea-time chat show with Sanjay Manjrekar and Kapil Dev. “If the incident would have occurred in present times then I would have been fined,“ he added.

Durrani's quick intervention saved the incident from becoming far more serious. Had Gavaskar succeeded in his walkoff then India would have been forced to forfeit the Test and faced suspension as a result.

A young Kapil Dev, who was on his second overseas tour, then spearheaded the Indian attack with aplomb to take a five for 28 and help skittle out the hosts for 83 as India were able to draw the three-match series 1-1. “I was too young at that time to react.But I can say one thing that we were all with the captain.”

The Times of India


“My stand vindicated”: says Durrani on Gavaskar walkout

Dec 29 2014

Santosh Suri

A day after Sunil Gavaskar on a TV channel regretted his infamous “walkout“ incident during the Melbourne Test in 1981, one man who feels vindicated is thethen team manager Wing Commander Shahid Ali Khan Durrani, who had averted an ugly situation. The Lucknow-based Durrani, who retired as Group Captain after a long stint with the Air Force and UP-governmentrun Uptron, told TOI that once back in the pavilion, the Indian skipper had regretted the incident. “But, to my knowledge, this is the first time he has done so in public.“ Durrani said he was worried when he saw the attempted walkout. “It was obvious to me from the dressing room that nonstriker Chetan Chauhan was reluctant to leave the field, but Gavaskar gave him a mild push. When I saw what was happening, I rushed to the outfield from the dressing room, taking next man Dilip Vengsarkar along with me,“ he said.

“By the time I reached the outfield, both Gavaskar and Chauhan were just about a few metres from the boundary . This is when I ordered Chauhan back to the crease and sent Vengsarkar in. Fortunately for India, a very ugly situation was averted which could have caused India and the BCCI a great deal of em barrassment.“ Durrani had termed Gavaskar's behaviour “deplorable“ in his manager's report then.

“In the dressing room, I talked to Gavaskar and prevailed upon him to forget the incident and to get on with the game. He realised his mistake and the game proceeded without any more untoward incidents,“ he said. “I had strongly recommended that the BCCI should ask Gavaskar for an explanation and take action against him.“

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