When I went through the ‘True story’ of how a birthmark had made a difference in the future life of Sunil Gavaskar, a fearless cricketer of this generation, from holding his bat in hand against those rocket-fires rather than sitting with a fishing rod before the pleasant Mumbai sea hours after hours. A look at the incident can make you amused.
The Birth Story that May Surprise You:
Just like other normal days, On July 10 in the year 1949, one of the renowned hospitals saw a baby getting birth in the maternity ward. Just next to him, another child was born in the fisherman’s family making a slight difference from the first one who had a small hole behind his left ear. The question now remains why am I telling you all of these? Wait, the picture is yet to telecast!!!
In the next sunny morning when the uncle of the first child, Madhav Mantri, one of India’s test player in that age, came to watch his nephew; he couldn’t spot the small hole behind his ear. Is it just an excellence over-night or do the hospital stuffs have shown a bit of carelessness? Calling all the nurses and ward boys, he asked them to find his nephew who ultimately located to be sleeping in the fisherman’s crib without any tension. Later, it was notified that one of the nurses during placing both the babies in the nursery mistakenly swapped them. Nobody could had managed to examine the whole fact if the birthmark wasn’t observed by Uncle Mr. Madhav Mantri.
“Providence had helped me to retain my new identity and in the process charted the course of my life.” In his autobiography called ‘Sunny Days’, Gavaskar stated that if no one had identified that landmark, he would had been toiling somewhere in the west-coast. “And what about the baby who, for a spell, took my place? I don’t know if he is interested in Cricket or whether he ever read the book.”
“I can only hope that, if he does, he will start taking a little more interest in Sunil Gavaskar.”
The Series to Mark His Name:
One of the three words to kick off the article, destiny had helped him to address his real world. Now after quite a hard work, he was selected to play for the touring side to West Indies. Would he get selected for the first Jamaican test or not, but a finger infection meant he would walk out to bat in the 2nd Port-of-Spain test. It was obviously a proud moment to play with those whom he had watched from the stadium; his idol Rohan Kanai, Sir Gary Sobers, Clive Llyod all were just a step away from him, what made it quite a nervous moment too.
It was again a lucky start as his first international runs were leg-byes which the umpires hadn’t noticed. On 12, Sobers dropped his straight-forward catch and Sunil went on to make 65 & 67*. In his second test, the same man, the greatest of all-time, Sir Sobers couldn’t held another Manohar catch as the angry Indian brought up his maiden test century.
Returning back to Queen’s Park Oval for the final test of the series, Gavaskar showed immense respect to the ball outside off stump, he left it one after another and when the bowler over-pitched it, the right-hander drove him through the covers. His partners weren’t able to spend time with him in the pitch. The next morning, he snicked one behind to the keeping but not before registering 124 besides his name.
In the 2nd innings, The Mumbaikar playing in mood launched some of the aggressive shots to take himself to his 2nd hundred of the test, the first Indian to achieve the summit since Vijay Hazare back in 1947-’48. “I remember him taking fresh guard after the hundred.” Recalled his teammate Sardeshi. “He was preparing for another hundred.”
The Famous Calypso Of Gavaskar:
Of course, he was helped by the opponent fielders as they had slipped his catch but no one could smash a double ton by just having faith on his luck. A straight drive helped Gavaskar to celebrate the milestone before being dragged on to the stumps. Ended on 220, he marked the series as a highest run-getter with 774- 773 of those tally came in seven innings as Lord Realtar’s brilliant Calypso put it:
It was Gavaskar
De real Master
Just like a wall
We could not out Gavaskar at all, not at all.
No Matter What Number You Bat Man; The Score is Still Zero:
After the 1983 World Cup, in the last Madras test, Sunil, going throw a bad patch with just 269-runs in 10 innings, had decided to arrive at number four rather than opening which could throw him some time to asses the condition. However, Malcolm Marshall hunting twice in two balls meant he had to stroll down at 0/2. The swagger Vivian Richards during his welcome saying; “No matter, no matter what number you bat man, the score is still zero.” Little did he know, what he had done.
After being saved from a catch drop off Viv himself, Gavaskar just stopped the press with a superb 236, his highest test score and was awarded the Man of the match.
The Man Yet to Retire:
The name of the article might chin you up a bit and I will not do any justice if not describe the situation.
In the month of March, the radios in one fine morning spoke out that Gavaskar had announced his retirement from Test Cricket and 1987 WC would be his last professional Cricket. But the truth cam out that he never declared such things; it was the English media who had shaped it in this style. “I haven’t announced any retirement truly till now in 2021.” Revealed the 71-year-old to a show to journalist Vikrant Gupta of Sports Tak. “I had not given any letter to the BCCI.”
Still, he can face the quick ones, someone who just to protest could bat as a left-hander on a turning track is off another class.
The world was gifted by a new hero. The floppy hats seemed to be a new regularity for the new generation. The name Sunil became so famous that one can find at-least one Sunil in all the lanes. West Indian, Sunil Narine, was inspired to the name when Gavaskar went to Trinidad. Another Mumbaikar, who went on to become the God of the Game, Sachin Tendulkar, received a new innovation.
Sunil Manohar Gavaskar has through out his career presented so many inspirations in the world. It was all made to be happened and it happens.