Anshuman Gaekwad

I am lucky to get a chance to play with Sunil Manohar Gavaskar. I got his long support in Test Cricket. I find it very strange that some of my things are very similar to him. He was born in the Purandare Hospital in Mumbai. I was also born in that hospital. The word G comes in both of our names. He is my good friend and I am still in touch with him. We have spent good days together.

Celebrate your birthday Sunil and start a new inning. I wish that as his innings on the field were memorable, so too should his off-field be memorable. May God give him a long life. I saw his techniques missing in Tendulkar, in Dravid, Ganguly or Laxman, nor is the technique seen in Virat itself. When I batted with him, West Indies used to have four fast bowlers who would beat any batsman at the crease. But the way Gavaskar used to play him, it seemed that there was no power in that sharp bowling. I used to see this approach of Gavaskar and get a lot of confidence after seeing it.

I remember visiting the WI in which the ferocious fast bowlers like Andy Roberts, Malcolm Marshall and Michael Holding played. The bowling is a weapon for WI. While playing them, Gavaskar`s faced them superbly. Due to Gavaskar, I also started to feel that there is no attack in front of us and was fully prepared psychologically. This is the reason why we once achieved the 403 run target of WI at Port of Spain. Then I started the innings with Gavaskar. It had come to such a point that the captaincy of Clive Lloyd could go through that defeat.

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Similarly, I remember the post-Jamaica match at Kingston when Vishwanath, Brijesh Patel and I were all injured. Five Indian batsmen were absent hurt in the second inning. It looks like a bloodbath. Then Michael Holding and Daniel threw a lot of bouncers. They then threw beamers at times. When Sunil Gavaskar complained to the umpire, the umpire said that in reality you people are not used to playing short pitch balls. All that`s going on is fine. Gavaskar was very upset and angry after hearing this. The first time I saw Gavaskar so angry. I requested them to calm down. Then he told me that I do not want to die here. I want to go home and see my child. Rohan Gavaskar was born in those days.

Some compare him to Jeffery Boycott of England. It is true that Boycott was a good player and also very strong technically, but the truth is that Gavaskar did more runs than Boycott. Gavaskar was a more complete batsman than him. I believe that today`s cricketers can learn a lot from Gavaskar`s technique and his playing style. Can learn from his template. Today, people are aggressive but Gavaskar`s aggression was reflected in his batting. He did not get many digs during the game, At times, he also avoided to se bowler`s eyes. He showed world cricket how to stay calm on the field. Even, today`s generations can learn a lot from his concentration and dedication.

The Writer is a former Indian Cricketer, Coach and Selector of Team India

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