Former India opener and captain Sunil Gavaskar is widely regarded as one of the greatest openers to play the game.
Negotiating the new ball, assessing the pitch, setting the tone for the rest of the batsmen to follow and identifying the right strategy to be applied against an opponent – the opener’s role is arguably the most difficult of the lot. There was no looking back for the Mumbai-born ace since bursting onto the scene in 1971 and blunting a fierce West Indies bowling attack away from home.
Gavaskar amassed 34 Test hundreds, a record that stood for many years. Before the arrival of a certain Sachin Tendulkar, also hailing from Gavaskar’s city, it was the latter who was given the moniker ‘Master Blaster’.
There is little surprise that in 1986, just a year before he hung up his boots, there were comparisons to the legendary Sir Donald Bradman of Australia.
“They [the comparisons] are very flattering but nowhere near the truth,” Gavaskar says in the interview.
“Let’s face it, Don Bradman scored all those runs in just 52 Tests while I have played almost twice as much. My average is nowhere close to his. Even if he comes to India now, 30-40 years after he has given up the game, the streets will be lined up with people who want to have a glimpse of the great man.
“Don Bradman is revered in India.”
Gavaskar’s powers of concentration at the crease was one of the highlights of his batting repertoire. The then 37-year-old revealed his secret. He said: “I could read an entire book without being disturbed. I used to read a lot and that has helped my concentration a great deal. I think my reading habit helped my focus.”
In the interview, Gavaskar also opens up about his favourite shot, a possible role in active politics and his critics. There is also a cheeky side to him. “I like the ball just beating the fielder, ashe fielder needs to run another 25-30 yards then.”
Watch the video of the interview here: