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On This Day in 1949: Legendary Sunil Gavaskar was born

Sunil Gavaskar scoring his first ODI hundred vs NZ in 1987 WC (Photo Source: Twitter)

Sunil Gavaskar was born to Manohar and Meenal in Bombay (now Mumbai) on July 10, 1949. The iconic cricketer celebrates his 75th birthday on Wednesday.

Gavaskar made his international debut in March 1971 against the West Indies at the Queen’s Park Oval. He missed the first Test but went on to amass a whopping 774 runs in eight innings at a staggering average of 154.80. His record stands to this day.

Gavaskar took to international cricket like a duck to water as he went from strength to strength, impressing fans and critics with his consistency, grit, and determination. The diminutive batter’s encounters with the dreaded West Indies pace attack are fondly remembered by cricket enthusiasts. Pitches back in the day were not maintained as much as they are in this age. The bounce used to remain unpredictable on most surfaces and the batters in Gavaskar’s age didn’t even have the luxury protective gears.

Gavaskar went on to play for the national team for 16 years, scoring 10,122 runs from 125 Tests at an average of 51.12 and 3,092 runs from 108 ODIs at 35.14. In the longest format of the game, Gavaskar smashed 45 half-centuries and 34 centuries, which was a record before Sachin Tendulkar broke it. Meanwhile, in ODI cricket, the right-handed batter scored 27 fifties and a solitary century.

The stalwart also captained the Indian side in the late ’70s and early ’80s. However, his leadership record wasn’t great, as he won nine matches and lost eight and as many as 30 games were drawn.

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Gavaskar made his final appearance for India in the 1987 World Cup, scoring 300 runs at an average of 50 in the marquee event. In his last game, in the semifinals, Gavaskar made just four runs being bowled out.

After announcing his retirement from playing cricket, he took up commentary and broadcasting and is hailed as one of the finest the sport has produced. He is praised for his ability to call a spade a spade and that is what makes him special.

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