Up-Close & Personal with Sunil Gavaskar
It’s not everyday one can relive a legendary cricketer’s glory days with him. Yet, Here and Now 365‘s Manish Tiwari and Ankur Sharma had the opportunity to do just that. On 8th July 2014 Sunil Gavaskar was hosted by Mark Ramprakash MBE at a drinks reception at Lord’s Cricket Grounds. It was the same venue at which India won the 1983 World Cup and the experience was a moving one, to say the least:
Apart from his stature, everything about him was just so immense, especially the records he managed to break over his 17-year international career. At 5ft and just about 5 inches tall stood Mr. Sunil Manohar Gavaskar happily chatting away at the Lords “Visiting Team” Dressing Room. Technique, tenacity and concentration are the 3 words that come to mind at first glance of this He is renowned for his skills as a defenceman. It was in an era of high-quality fast bowling, when fast bowlers somehow were very tall and pitches helpful. A test outing was thus not always a battle of equals. For Gavaskar, an Indian who thrived on a staple of spin to make so many runs, consistently against the 150 kmph bowlers of international cricket, was a phenomenal feat. He could do this because he willed himself to do it.
If watching him on Comedy Nights with Kapil was a surprise, his anecdotes and story telling skills at the Lords last night were an eye OPENER (pun intended). In his words “Just being an opening batsman doesn’t mean you are serious all the time. In fact Hindi movie villains are the nicest people you will come across – E.g. Mr. Prem Chopra, a thorough gentleman.”
He went on to say winning the 1983 World Cup at Lords was the best moment of his life and he can still narrate the entire match like it was yesterday. As the pinpoint accuracy of Mohinder Amarnath saw Michael Holding fall lbw and all hell broke lose at Lords. Gavaskar at backward point picked up the match ball and scampered towards the dressing room. Here I quote: “I would have even given Usain Bolt a run for his money, if he was competing with my dash that day”. That match ball is still one of his most prized possessions.
Then he noticed the notice board in the dressing room (Test Hundreds at Lords –VISITORS), “Ahh I am there in the ROW vs MCC match in 1987,” and that certainly was a brilliant 188. You could see his eyes sparkle and so filled with pride he humbly asks me to take a picture of the notice board from his iPhone. Here we would also like to thank Mr. Mark Ramprakash for hosting the Great Man and giving us the opportunity to hear those wisdom words.
A true gentleman in every respect of the gentleman’s game, he is so humble and a “TRUE AMBASSADOR” of the sport.
A very Happy 65th Birthday on 10th July to you, Sir. Spending only one evening with you leaves one in awe of the kind of knowledge and passion you have for the great game.
I look forward to hear you in that commentary box and poignantly touch our lives for many, many more years to come!
ONCE A GAVASKAR FAN, ALWAYS A GAVASKAR FAN,