Birthday Special: 5 Interesting Records Held by Sunil Gavaskar
When Sunil Gavaskar bid adieu to the game in November 1987, he was at the top of many a batting charts. He wound up his career with several records against his name.
Gavaskar is considered to be among the finest to have played the game of cricket. At times when pitches around the world weren’t as friendly to batsmen as they are today, Gavaskar was among the few blessed with the temperament and technique to survive difficult conditions and score runs against challenging bowlers.
In December 1983, he broke Sir Don Bradman’s record of most Test centuries and became the first player to score 30 Test hundreds. Three years later, on 7 March 1987, the Mumbai cricketer became the first batsman to scale the 10,000 Test runs mark.
On his 68th birthday, here’s revisiting the legend of Sunil Gavaskar by looking at some of the records that were his during his playing days, and some others which have stood the test of time and are still his:
First Batsman To Reach 10,000 Runs
Sunil Gavaskar will always be referred to as becoming the first cricketer to score 10,000 Test runs. In his final Test series – against Pakistan in 1987 – and playing in what turned out to be his penultimate Test match, Gavaskar scored 63 in the first innings of the Ahmedabad Test match, to become the first batsman ever to reach the five-digit mark. He eventually finished his career with a total of 10,122 runs, which would be the most any player had scored until Allan Border broke the record in 1993.
Class of the Best Test Openers Ever
Even today, more than twenty nine years after he hung up his boots, Gavaskar’s numbers as an opener are the second-most by an opening batsman in Test cricket, bettered only by England’s Alastair Cook.
Wasting No Time To Make A Mark In International Cricket
Sunil Gavaskar wasted no time in making an impact in international cricket. He handed a Test debut in the second Test against the West Indies on the 1970-71 tour of the Caribbean, Gavaskar scored a record 774 runs in his maiden Test series – still the highest aggregate by a player in his debut series. Gavaskar’s aggregate in that series (having featured in only 4 of the 5 Test matches India played) is even today the highest ever by an Indian cricketer in a Test series.
Highest Score By An Indian In Tests
Given his ability to judge the off-stump, his tight technique and superb temperament,Gavaskar was among the few players who had the ability to wear down even the best bowling attacks.
It was not surprising, therefore, that he scored five double centuries in Test cricket. His unbeaten 236 against West Indies in Chennai in 1983 was the highest score by an Indian in Test cricket at that time. Gavaskar held the record until a certain VVS Laxman came along and scored a series-changing 281 against the Australians in 2001.
Dominating The Indomitable West Indies
History books will always reflect on Gavaskar as the man who conquered the formidable West Indies sides of the 1970s and 1980s. Starting with his debut series, Gavaskar almost always scored runs against the West Indies. He made such an impact in the Caribbean that the Trinidadian LordRealtor penned a jingle in tribute to the Little Master. Till date, no batsman has scored as many runs and hundreds against the West Indies as Gavaskar did.
Most Test Centuries By A Batsman Against A Particular Opponent
Such was Gavaskar’s fondness for the West Indies that he scored 13 centuries in 27 Test matches against the men from the Caribbean. Only one player had scored more hundreds against a particular opponent – Sir Don Bradman against England. Next best to Gavaskar’s 13 centuries against the West Indies is Jacques Kallis’ 8!
(This article has been republished from The Quint’s archives to mark Sunil Gavaskar’s 68th birthday. It was first published on 10 July 2016.)