Sunil Gavaskar celebrates 60th birthday in Puttaparthi

Sunil Gavaskar celebrates 60th birthday in Puttaparthi

Sunil Gavaskar celebrates 60th birthday in Puttaparthi

Legendary cricketer Sunil Gavaskar seeks blessings of spiritual teacher Sathya Sai Baba at Baba's Puttaparthi Ashram in Anantapur district of Andhra Pradesh on Friday. PTI

Gavaskar was accompanied by his entire family and Gundappa Viswanath, his brother-in-law, on the visit.

The first batsman ever to reach 10,000 runs in the history of cricket, Gavaskar had a distinguished career adorned with many landmarks.

Playing with his bat very close to his pads, Gavaskar was the epitome of copybook batting as he scored 10,122 runs from 125 Tests with a then record of 34 Test tons in an international career spanning 16 years.

The diminutive cricketer-turned-columnist and commentator was also the first batsman to surpass Sir Donald Bradman's 29 centuries in Tests, an achievement which acquire more significance as it came in the era of tearaway West Indian bowlers.

He and Viswanath were the backbone of the Indian batting line-up when the batsmen were not protected with modern-day protective equipment like helmet and there was also no restriction on number of bumpers that could be bowled in an over.

One of the greatest opening batsmen of all time, Gavaskar was concentration personified, who defence was almost unbreachable, making him the most prized scalp of his time.

He played a stellar role with Dilip Sardesai and Eknath Solkar to help India to a historic series victory in the Caribbean under the leadership of Ajit Wadekar. His feats in the West Indies also resulted in a Calypso penned in his praise.

The Mumbai icon, who lived by the virtue of professionalism and discipline, also showed his prowess in the one-day format, although it was not considered his forte.
He was the part of 1983 World Cup winning squad and also shone in the 1987 World Cup match against New Zealand.
Controversies also had their own share in Gavaskar's career.

His first visit to England in 1971 saw him collide with rival fast bowler John Snow on the pitch while taking a run and the Indian opener was sent sprawling as a result.
Four years later he scored an inexplicable 36 not out in 60 overs in the first World Cup, against England, and was reprimanded for it by the Cricket Board following an adverse report by team manager G S Ramchand.

Gavaskar also showed his hot-headed streak when he very nearly made India the first country to forfeit a Test match in 1981, the dubious distinction later attained by arch-rivals Pakistan.

Gavaskar was pelted with fruits at the Eden Gardens in the 1984-85 season's Test series against England and vowed never to play in that hallowed arena for the rest of his career, a promise that he kept till he retired in 1987.

Gavaskar was even booed by his home crowd after being dismissed for four by England's Philip DeFreitas in the 1987 World Cup semi-final at the Wankhede, which was his last appearance in India colours.
Controversies kept chasing Gavaskar even after retirement as he was made to step down as ICC Cricket Committee Chairman because of conflict of interest owing to his newspaper columns.

He has also shouldered various responsibilities with the BCCI and served as an advisor to the Indian cricket team during the home series against Australia in 2004.
The Border-Gavaskar Trophy has been instituted in his (co-)honour.
Gavaskar has also been awarded the Padma Bhushan. In December 1994 he was appointed the Sheriff of Mumbai, an honorary for a year.
He has written four books on cricket -– Sunny Days (autobiography), Idols, Runs n' Ruins and One Day Wonders.

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