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Happy birthday, Sunil Gavaskar.

One of the finest batsmen in the history of the game turns 71. On this occasion I'll bring you 71 interesting stories on the cricketing career & life of this legend. Stay tuned.

1. When Sunil Gavaskar was born his uncle Narayan Masurekar noticed a little hole on baby's left earlobe. The next day his uncle noticed some other baby in the crib-- who had no hole on the left earlobe. Thankfully his uncle found young Gavaskar sleeping beside a fisherwoman.
2. Gavaskar's maternal uncle Madhav Mantri played 4 Tests for India. Young Gavaskar would spend a lot of time in Mantri's home. Gavaskar was fascinated by the sweaters & caps. He wanted to wear India cap. Mantri said: "You can't wear the India cap, you've got to earn that cap."
3. Once Gavaskar added 400-odd runs in an inter-college match with Ramesh Nagdev. He told about this knock to his uncle Mantri who asked Gavaskar how he got out. He was caught at deep mid-wicket. Mantri told Gavaskar not to gift his wicket ever & let the bowler earn his wicket
4. Sunil Gavaskar made his First-Class debut for the Vazir Sultan Colts XI v Dungarpur XI on October 11, 1966 in Hyderabad at the age of 17. MAK Pataudi was the skipper. Gavaskar scored 9 & 6 on his debut & was dismissed by BS Chandrasekhar & Raj Singh Dungarpur respectively.
5. Gavaskar scored 111 in the final of the Vizzy Trophy in 1966/67 v South Zone Universities in Nagpur.

West Zone Universities won the title on first innings.

Gavaskar made his debut for Bombay in the 1967/68 Irani Cup match v Rest of India at the CCI. He scored 5 & 0.
6. Gavaskar made his Ranji Trophy debut in the 1969/70 season v Mysore. He scored 0 & 27* in that game.

In his 2nd Ranji Trophy game, Gavaskar got his maiden First-Class ton v Rajasthan in the 1969/70 final at the Brabourne stadium.

Bombay won by an innings & 59 runs.
7. In the 1970-71 season Gavaskar scored 104 & 27 v Gujarat. Gavaskar got to play this match as Bombay captain Ajit Wadekar was injured.

Gavaskar scored 176 v Maharashtra at the Nehru Stadium. Scored 307 runs in 3 innings in the 1970-71 Ranji Trophy season
8. Gavaskar had scores of 226, 99, 327, 124 for Bombay University in the Rohinton Baria Trophy. Gavaskar's 327 broke Ajit Wadekar's record of 324 in University cricket.

Gavaskar was also the vice-captain of the Indian Universities v SL. Scored 203* v Ceylon Universities
9. Gavaskar is a hot-favourite to be a part of the Indian touring party to West Indies. Young 21-year-old Sunil Gavaskar is the part of the 16-man Indian squad to tour West Indies. Pataudi, Borde, Chadrasekhar & Engineer were excluded. Wadekar was appointed as the skipper
10. Team misses the connecting flight from New York to Jamaica. Gavaskar had an infected finger & an operation had to be performed. If he had come a little later the finger would've been amputated.Was advised rest for at least 2 weeks. So he was out of the 1st Test at Sabina Park
11. India drew the first Test at Sabina Park. In the 2nd Test, 21-year-old Gavaskar made his debut at the Port of Spain.

He was dropped at 12 in the second slip by Sir Garfield Sobers.

Gavaskar played an impressive hook shot off Grayson Shillingford. Looked all set for a ton
12. Gavaskar was stranded on 65 for long time before he was caught at square-leg by Clive Lloyd off Jack Noreiga. He batted for 262 minutes & his innings comprised 7 fours. India were on the verge of a famous win and young Gavaskar would have a major role in it
13. Needing 124 to win Gavaskar stayed unbeaten on 67. He hit the winning runs & had an amazing debut.

Wadekar was secretly hoping Gavaskar got out before getting a ton. Whoever had scored a ton on Test debut for India failed miserably later on.

Picture credit: The Hindu
14. Gavaskar scored his first Test century in Georgetown - 116 runs in the first innings. Gavaskar was dropped twice & he made the hosts pay for it. Was dismissed by Sobers. Scored 64* in the second innings
15. At Bridgetown, Gavaskar was dismissed for one. In the second innings, Gavaskar scored an unbeaten 117 as India saves the Test. This was his second century in Tests.
16. At the Port of Spain, Sunil Gavaskar scored 124 & 220 thus becoming the second batsman ever to score a ton & a double century in the same Test. Became the first batsman to hit 4 tons in one series. Also became the 2nd Indian to score a ton in both innings of a Test!
17. Gavaskar scored 774 runs on his debut Test series. That's the most runs scored by any batsman in his debut series. He hit three consecutive tons in three innings. India won their first ever Test series against West Indies. Gavaskar had become a national hero
18. India tour England after their win in the West Indies. Gavaskar made 53 at Lord's & 57 at Manchester - scored 144 runs in 6 innings. India won the final Test at The Oval & won their first ever Test series in England
19. Gavaskar v John Snow was the most awaited battle. Gavaskar had done well in WI (774 runs). Snow had performed well in the 1970-71 Ashes (31 wickets). Snow was accused of deliberately knocking down Gavaskar at Lord's. Snow missed the next Test at Manchester
20. Gavaskar played his first home Test at the Ferozshah Kotla in December 1972. India lost the Test but went on to win the series 2-1. India won at Kolkata & then in Chennai. Gavaskar batted at No.8 in the 2nd innings in Chennai
21. After his exploits in the first two series in West Indies (774 runs in 8 innings) & England (144 runs in 6 innings), Gavaskar played for the Rest of the World team in Australia, Gavaskar met Sir Don Bradman in Australia
22. Gavaskar scored his first century in three years — 101 v England at Manchester in June 1974.

According to Gavaskar this was one of his best Test hundreds

23. India lost the 1974 series 3-0 & were bowled out for 42 at Lord's. Ajit Wadekar was removed as the captain after England tour.

India played their first ODI at Leeds in 1974

India's next challenge was facing the formidable West Indies at home
24. Gavaskar played the first Test at Bengaluru and got injured while playing the Ranji game. Pataudi & Gavaskar were injured and Venkataraghavan led in Delhi. Gavaskar missed 3 Tests and returned for the final Test in Mumbai -- the first Test at Wankhede Stadium in 1975
25. Gavaskar scored 86 as Solkar comleted his first Test ton. India lost the Test and lost the series 3-2.

After Bengaluru, Gavaskar was certain to lead India in Delhi but Pandurang Salgaonkar's delivery hit him on the hand & he missed 3 Tests.

Soon Gavaskar would lead India
26. India played the first ever World Cup in 1975 and they faced hosts England in the opening game at Lord's. India were chasing 335 but scored 132/3 in 60 overs. Gavaskar scored 36* off 174 balls. Scored 65* v East Africa. India couldn't reach the semi-final of the World-Cup
27. India toured New Zealand in 1976 and Bishan Bedi was injured due to a muscle injury. Gavaskar captained India in Auckland & scored a fine 116 in the 1st innings. He remained unbeaten on 35 as India chased 68, winning by 8 wickets. Great captaincy debut for Sunil Gavaskar
28. In Wellington, Gavaskar was taken to the hospital after Lance Cairns' pull shot off Prasanna hit him on the face. He was fielding at short-leg. If the blow had been an inch higher, Gavaskar may've been killed as per the reports. Gavaskar took no further part in the Test
29. India toured West Indies in 1976 and lost the first Test in Bridgetown. In the 2nd Test at Port of Spain, Gavaskar scored 156 & in the next Test at Port of Spain he scored 102 as India chased 403 comfortably. This was Gavaskar's 4th Test ton at the Queen's Park Oval, Trinidad
30. India levelled the series and Lloyd was furious with the West Indies team. WI had lost 5-1 in Australia and loss at Port of Spain hurt Lloyd who henceforth banked on his pace-attack. Before the Jamaica Test the entire West Indies was eager to win. Gavaskar captained v Jamaica
31. In the tour match v Jamaica, skipper Gavaskar batted at No.9 and scored 43 thus going past 10000 First-Class runs. He declared with India ahead by only 7 runs. Jamaica batted defensively & tried to frustrate India. West Indies wanted to badly win in Jamaica
32. There were crowd chants of: "Kill, him" "Knock his head off" in Jamaica. Gavaskar looked for the crowd support but there was hostility. He termed the crowd behaviour as 'barbarian' in Sunny Days. Gaekwad, Viswanath, Patel were injured. Bedi declared with India 6 down & lost
33. Gavaskar got his first Test hundred at home in his next Test at the Wankhede Stadium -- 119 in the first innings. India won the Test by 162 runs. Got 66 at Kanpur. In that inns all 11 Indians got double digit score as they reached 524. India won in Chennai; won the series 2-0
34. India lost the home series against England 3-1 in 1976-77. Gavaskar scored a century in the fifth and final Test at the Wankhede Stadium. He scored 394 runs - the most by an Indian in the 5-match Test series. India's next challenge was v Australia in Australia
35. India took on Bob Simpson-led Australia Down Under. In the first Test, India lost by 16 runs at The Gabba in 1977-78. Chasing 341, Gavaskar scored 113 in the 2nd inns. India lost the next Test at Perth by 2 wickets; Gavaskar scored 127 in the 2nd inns! India were down 2-0
36. Gavaskar scored his third ton in the three Tests - this time 118 in the 2nd innings at the MCG. India won by 222 runs.

At the SCG, India won by an innings & 2 runs. It was all to play for at the Adelaide Oval. Chasing 493, India fell short by 47 runs & lost the series 3-2
37. India's next tour was in Pakistan. This was a highly anticipated tour as India-Pakistan had not faced each other for 17 long years. India had never lost a Test series v Pak who recalled banned players--Imran, Majid, Zaheer & Mushtaq--those who played in the Packer's WSC
38. The first Test in Faisalabad was drawn. Gavaskar scored 88 in the 1st inns. At Lahore, Gavaskar scored 97 in the 2nd inns and was dismissed by skipper Mushtaq Mohammad. Pakistan needed 125 to win in about 25 overs and they won in the 21st over (by 8 wickets)
39. At National Stadium, Karachi, Gavaskar scored 111 & 137 thus becoming the 1st Indian to score hundreds in each innings of the Test twice. In this Test Gavaskar went past Umrigar's 3631 runs (most for India). Pak chased 164 in the 25th over & won their 1st Test series v IND
40. After the Pakistan series, Gavaskar was appointed India's captain. In the first Test v West Indies in Mumbai, Gavaskar scored 205 -- thus top-scoring in 4 consecutive Test innings for India. He scored 73 in the second innings.
41. Gavaskar scored 107 & 182* at the Eden Gardens thus becoming the first cricketer to score centuries in each innings of the Test match thrice. India won in Chennai by 3 wickets. Gavaskar scored 120 in Delhi & 40 in 6th Test in Kanpur. India won the series 1-0
42. Gavaskar had scored 732 runs & captained India to a series win v formidable WI. Despite this he was removed as a captain & S Venkataraghavan was India's new skipper for the World Cup & subsequent England tour. One of the possible reasons was SMG supporting Packer's WSC
43. Although Gavaskar supported Packer's WSC, he was committed to Indian cricket & had signed a contract with the board before the selection. India had a disastrous WC campaign losing even to Associate nation Sri Lanka. They failed to win a single match in WC 1979
44. In the 1979 Oval Test, India had 500 minutes to chase 438 runs or save the Test. Gavaskar played one of the epic knocks. At tea, India were 304/1 & 328/1 when mandatory 20 overs started. Soon India were 366/1. Gavaskar went past his double hundred
45. Vengsarkar & Kapil Dev were out. With Gavaskar on 221 & India needing 49 off 48 balls this had the making of a classic. But Gavaskar was out caught at mid-on off Botham. His marathon knock of 490 minutes came to an end. India failed to reach the target match was drawn
46. India lost the series but Gavaskar's 221 was possible one of the greatest ever Test innings. It came in the 4th inns of a Test match. Back home, Gavaskar's innings had given fans a great joy. When the team was coming back from England there was an interesting announcement
47. The aircraft's public announcement system had a message that Sunil Gavaskar had been appointed as the captain of the Indian team yet again. Venkataraghavan felt let down especially in the manner this announcement was made.
48. India's next assignment was the home series v Australia in 1979-80. India won the series 2-0 - this was their first series win against Australia. Gavaskar scored 115 in Delhi & scored his 4th Test ton at Wankhede Stadium (123) as India won the series comprehensively.
49. The Test series against Pakistan at home was going to be crucial. Gavaskar showed his adroitness as a leader. In the Kotla Test, he had leg-slip for Mudassar Nazar & he had a leg-slip. He asked Kapil Dev to bowl around the wicket. Nazar was caught at leg-slip by Chauhan!
50. India beat Pakistan by 131 runs in Mumbai & by 10 wickets in Chennai. Gavaskar scored 166 in the first innings at Chennai. India won the series 2-0 and everything that Gavaskar was touching was turning to gold. His batting & his captaincy stood out in the series.
51. Gavaskar handed over the captaincy of the final Test against Pakistan to GR Viswanath who also captained during the Golden Jubilee Test v England in Mumbai. India lost the Test by 10 wickets largely due to Botham's brilliance - 13 wickets & 114 in the 1st innings
52. Sunil Gavaskar joined Somerset during the wet summer of 1980. In 15 FC games, he scored 686 runs for Somerset at an average of nearly 35. The pitches were a little slow during the 1980 season and Gavaskar took some time to get used to the conditions.
53. India toured Australia in the 1980/81 season. In the 5 Test inns Gavaskar's scores were - 0,10,23,5,10. In the 2nd inns at MCG he was batting on 70 when he was adjudged out off Lillee. Gavaskar felt he got an inside edge.He was irked by what was being said. India won the Test
54. India lost the Test series in NZ, won the home-series v England 1-0 where Kapil Dev was Player of the Series, lost when India went to England in 1982. Gavaskar had a fractured tibia at The Oval. SL drew v India, India lost v Pakistan 3-0. Soon Kapil was made the India captain
55. In 9 Test innings in WI in 1982-83, Gavaskar's best was 147 & his next best was 32. India beat WI in Berbice where Gavaskar scored 90. India went into the World Cup as underdogs. They beat WI twice in the tournament & won the championship.
56. In the 1983 Delhi Test v West Indies, Gavaskar hit a 94-ball century at the Ferozshah Kotla. This was Gavaskar's fastest ton in Test cricket. He equalled Don Bradman's tally of 29 tons in Test cricket
57. When Gavaskar scored 236* v West Indies at Chennai - he registered the highest individual score for India in Tests. He broke Vinoo Mankad's record of 231 v NZ at Chennai in 1955/56. Gavaskar also became the first person to score double hundreds in all 4 innings of a Test
58. In the 1981/82 Ranji Trophy semi-final, Gavaskar batted left-handed v left-arm spinner Raghuram Bhat. Although Bombay lost the match on first innings lead, Gavaskar's heroics didn't let Karnataka win outright.
59. Sunil Gavaskar was reinstated as the captain after WI hammered India in the home series. India won the inaugural Asia Cup in Sharjah under captaincy of Sunil Gavaskar.

Lost the ODI series 3-0 v Australia. One of the important series for Gavaskar was home series v England
60. India won the first Test in Bombay but lost in Delhi. In Kolkata, Kapil Dev was dropped and there was crowd trouble. Gavaskar was shocked to see the crowd behaviour at Kolkata & vowed never to play there. India lost in Chennai & with draw in Kanpur lost the series 2-1
61. Gavaskar led India in the World Championship of Cricket. India won all the games & Gavaskar's captaincy was lauded. He attacked with Sivaramakrishnan, opened the batting with Shastri & used his bowlers well. After winning the cup he announced his retirement from captaincy
62. Kapil dev led India in the Rothman's Cup. At 35, Gavaskar took 4 catches as India defended 125 v Pakistan. In two games Gavaskar scored only 22 runs but he was awarded Player of the Tournament for his fielding. Gavaskar was 35!
63. Gavaskar batted in the middle order but didn't look comfortable. India lost the series in SL in 1985. He returned to the top of the order in the Australia tour of 1985/86. He got 166* at the Adelaide Oval & 172 at the SCG.

64. India won 2-0 in England in 1986. Gavaskar scored 90 in the 2nd innings of the Tied Test v Australia. He scored 103 in the Mumbai Test. At Kanpur v SL, he scored 176 v SL - his 34th and last Test hundred. Imran Khan's Pakistan team was Gavaskar's next challenge
65. Gavaskar was 183 runs away from 10000 Test runs. He got 91 at Chennai. And then Gavaskar announced that he won't play the Eden Gardens Test. The behaviour of the crowd in 1983 & 1984 had irked Gavaskar. This would break his record of 106 consecutive Tests.
66. Gavaskar scored his 10000th run in the Ahmedabad Test when he played a late-cut off Ijaz Fakih.

Gavaskar became the first cricketer to scale the Mount Everest — 10000 Test runs.

There was all to play for in Bengaluru.

67. Sunil Gavaskar imitating Abdul Qadir & Imran Khan while bowling to Younis Ahmed & Saleem Malik in the 1987 Ahmedabad Test.

Gavaskar’s only Test & ODI wickets: Zaheer Abbas

Sunil-Rohan Gavaskar both got wickets in their first over in ODIs

68. Gavaskar scored 96 in his last Test innings v Pakistan on a rank turner at M Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bengaluru. India lost the Test by 16 runs. Gavaskar was named Player of the match.

Test Career: M 125 R 10122 A 51.12 100s/50s 34/45
69. Gavaskar’s last ODI tournament was the 1987 World Cup. India were one of the favourites to win the Cup. Gavaskar scored 61 v Australia at Delhi, 50 v NZ at Ahmedabad & were playing an important game v New Zealand in Nagpur.
70. New Zealand scored 221 & India needed to score these runs inside 42.2 overs & secure a top-spot ahead of Australia in the group & play SF in Mumbai. Gavaskar scored a ton in 85 balls — his first & only ton. He remained unbeaten on 103 off 88
71. Sunil Gavaskar’s last innings ended at the Wankhede Stadium v England as India lost the match

Sachin Tendulkar was a ball-boy in this game

Gavaskar hit 188 for Rest of the World v MCC at Lord’s in 1987 & announced his retirement from international cricket

What a career!
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