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On This Day | Sunil Gavaskar reaches 10000 runs in Test Cricket

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Last updated on 07 Mar 2023 | 02:17 AM
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On This Day | Sunil Gavaskar reaches 10000 runs in Test Cricket

The king of cricket during the pre-helmet era, Gavaskar was a ray of hope for India against the most brutal fast bowlers in the game's history

Every adjective or nickname associated with Sachin Tendulkar, Virat Kohli or MS Dhoni was once used for Sunil Manohar Gavaskar. The first superstar, or rather superhero, of Indian cricket had reached his 10,000th run in Test cricket on March 7, 1987  - a feat that greats like Don Bradman, Garfield Sobers, Geoffrey Boycott or even Vivian Richards couldn't attend.

The Indian cricketing team was hosting Pakistan for a Test match at the Sardar Patel Stadium in Ahmedabad when Gavaskar reached this milestone. After India's archrivals had scored 395 in the first innings, India were struggling with Kris Srikkanth and Mohinder Amarnath already back to the pavilion when Gavaskar had reached this feat.

Kiran More, who was at the non-striker’s end, was quite surprised at his compatriot’s celebration after finishing the most talked about task in the country. As per More, Gavaskar had sprinted like he hardly did on the field to celebrate that moment. It is well documented that people had entered the field from the stands to lionise their hero, who was the first-ever player to reach five figures in Test cricket. The match even had to be halted for some time.

The historic moment occurred when Gavaskar played a late cut shot off Ijaz Faqih’s delivery towards slip to move from 57 to 58 and ran with his bat held high. 

“.... I thought, it is just the fact that, 10,000 runs is something which I never expected to score in my life. I think it is 9,000 runs too many,” Gavaskar had after the match.

“I would have been very happy with 1,000 runs in my Test career. This is 9,000 runs plus for me, so it is just a moment of sheer joy. I suppose there are moments when one can’t always control one’s emotions,” the “Little Master added.

Though it has been 36 years since that day, with 12 more batters reaching the milestone of scoring 10,000 runs in Test cricket after Gavaskar, not one of them could really come close to experiencing Gavaskar’s extraordinary stint.

If Sachin Tendulkar had managed to keep India relevant in world cricket for almost three decades, Sunil Gavaskar had brought India onto the world cricket map. His debut series in 1971 against the mighty West Indies had seen Gavaskar accumulate 774 runs at an average of 154.80 to lead India to their first-ever win over the mighty Caribbean in over two decades.

His invincibility with the bat was so supreme that West Indies musician Lord Relator would write a song on Gavaskar, which went like this…

“It was Gavaskar

De real master

Just like a wall

We couldn't out Gavaskar at all, not at all

You know the West Indies couldn't out Gavaskar at all."

Known as the “Little Master” long before Tendulkar got that mantle, Gavaskar had played the last Test match of that series with a toothache to score a century and a double century in consecutive innings. He couldn’t take painkillers as it would have dulled his reflexes.

Interestingly, Gavaskar had kept this trend of using stress as his springboard for reaching heights on multiple occasions. His historic tally of 542 during India’s tour of England in 1979 had come when he was removed from Indian captaincy. Gavaskar would take on the quartet of Malcolm Marshall, Michael Holding, Wayne Daniel and Winston Davis to level Don Bradman’s 29 Test centuries. He had reached this milestone when people were demanding his retirement.

The king of cricket during the pre-helmet era, Gavaskar was a ray of hope for India against the most brutal fast bowlers in the game's history. When asked why he never wore a helmet, Gavaskar said he trusted his technique too much. The most he had moved towards taking protection was a skull cap after Malcolm Marshall’s delivery had hit his forehead.

From saving a family during the 1992-93 Bombay riots to refusing to play at the Eden Gardens after the "No Kapil No Test” banner in 1984, Gavaskar had lived a fearless life both on and off the field.

Much before MS Dhoni had started playing cricket, fans used to say, “as long as Gavaskar was there, there was hope.”

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