Regarded as one of the greatest opening batsman of all time and certainly the most successful, Sunil Manohar Gavaskar was born on 10th July 1949 in Bombay. The batsman, who solely changed the Indian player’s attitude towards fast bowling, was greatly admired for his near-perfect technique and enormous powers of concentration. Sunil Gavaskar was also a member of the 1983 World Cup winning team.
The “Little Master” was born to a family having a rich cricketing heritage. His father was a good club player while he got his cricketing lessons from his maternal uncle who was Bombay’s and India’s wicketkeeper. In the circumstances, it was no surprise that a toy cricket bat was among his earliest possessions, and that the infant Gavaskar's afternoon naps were followed by practice against the bowling of a doting mother and the houseboy. It is also learnt that once, playing with his mother Sunil hit a straight drive so hard on her face that her nose started bleeding.
Seeing his potential, Sunil Gavaskar was sent to the St. Xavier's High School as it had a rich tradition of cricket. Joining the St. Xavier's high School proved the turning point of Gavaskar's career as the school boasted of many recognized players, including Ashok Mankad (son of former Indian cricketer Vinoo Mankad). Playing for Bombay, Sunny scored 246 in the Cooch Behar Trophy in 1965-66. Sunil's prolific run getting saw him get selected for the All India schools team against the touring London Schoolboys. Young Gavaskar was awarded with the J.C.Mukherjee Trophy for the Best Schoolboy Cricketer of the year in 1965-66.Subsequently, he was selected for the Bombay University and the Bombay Ranji Trophy team.
During that time good cricketing teams did not want to tour India since it was believed that Indian players were afraid of playing fast bowling and once they got bundled out twice inside a day against the fiery West Indies bowling. It was during this period that Sunil Gavaskar came on the horizon of the Indian cricket changed the face of Indian cricket.
The most amazing thing about Gavaskar was that he reserved his best for the very best team in that era and they were the West Indies, against whom he made his debut. Picked in the squad to tour the West Indies in 1971, Gavaskar justified the move in the most emphatic manner possible, amassing 774 runs at an average of 154.80 in four matches, a tally that remains a record for the most prolific series by a batsman on debut. A couple of his half-centuries helped India to their first win ever against West Indies, in Port-of-Spain, a venue that remained his favourite throughout his career. That kicked off an amazing sequence of scores, with centuries in each of the next two Tests, and he signed off quite majestically, scoring 124 and 220 in the last Test - again in Port-of-Spain - to become only the second batsman in Test history to score a hundred and a double in the same.
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