Sunil Manohar Gavaskar, commonly known as Sunil Gavaskar, was born on the 10th of July, 1949 in a Marathi-speaking family to Meenal and Manohar Gavaskar. He has two sisters, Nutan Gavaskar and Kavita Vishwanath.
At birth, a baby belonging to a fisherman was swapped for Sunil Gavaskar. Since the youngster had a birthmark close to his ear, his uncle realized that he was not Sunil. “Perhaps, I would have grown up to be an obscure fisherman, toiling somewhere along the west coast,” Gavaskar wrote in his autobiography.
Sunil’s early education was done at St. Xavier’s High School in Bombay and he started playing cricket during his school days. He was named India’s Best Schoolboy Cricketer of the year in 1966 while playing for his school. Before hitting a century against the visiting London schoolboys in his final year of secondary school, he scored 246*, 222, and 85 in school cricket.
He made his first-class debut for the Vazir Sultan Colts XI against Dungarpur in 1966–67 but remained in Bombay’s Ranji Trophy squad for the next two years without playing a single game. He was out for a duck on his debut but responded with 114 runs in his second match against Rajasthan. Two consecutive centuries in the season earned him a place in the national team for the tour of the West Indies 1970-71.
Gavaskar missed the first test due to injury but hit the winning runs in the second Test match in Port-of-Spain, scoring 65 and 67 runs while remaining unbeaten. His dream start continued as he scored 116 and 64* in the third Test in Georgetown, and 1 and 117* in the fourth Test in Bridgetown. He remains the only Indian to aggregate 700 runs in a series and is the most runs scored in a debut series.
His first home series, a five-match affair against England, was largely disappointing, aggregating 224 runs at 24.89. When India returned in 1974 and Gavaskar hit 101 and 58 in the second Test at Old Trafford, his English detractors were appeased. He scored 227 runs at an average of 37.83 as India was defeated 3-0.
Gavaskar took over as India’s Test captain for the first time against New Zealand in the first Test in Auckland in January 1976 as regular skipper Bishen Singh Bedi was sidelined with a leg injury. He contributed 102 to India’s 4/406 in the third Test against West Indies in the 1975-76 season, which broke the previous record for the highest winning fourth innings score.
His purple patch continued during the 1977-78 tour of Australia and the tour of Pakistan the following year, during which he became India’s highest run-scorer in tests. He received the test captaincy for West Indies’ visit to India and scored 732 runs at 91.5 to secure a 1-0 series win. Despite this, he lost his position as captain in 1979 when India visited England for a four-Test series.
During the West Indies’ tour to India in the 1983-84 season, Sunil got past Bradman’s haul of 29 centuries and also surpassed 8000 runs in test cricket. India was winless in 29 straight Test matches when Kapil was fired as captain, and Gavaskar took over at the start of the 1984–85 season. But after a drawn series against Pakistan and a 2-1 loss to England at home, he relinquished the captaincy.
The 1986-87 season was his last and his 63 against Pakistan in the 4th test made him the first batsman in history to surpass 10,000 runs. The 1987 World Cup was Gavaskar’s last tournament and he aggregated 300 runs at 50, which included his only century in the format.
Personal Life and post-retirement years
Gavaskar is married to Marshneill Gavaskar, daughter of a leather industrialist from Kanpur. Their son Rohan was also a cricketer who played 11 One Day Internationals for India and is also a commentator.
His maternal uncle was retired Indian cricketer Madhav Mantri. Sunil’s teammate Gundappa Viswanath is married to his sister Kavita Viswanath, while his other sister, Nutan Gavaskar, served as the Women’s Cricket Association of India’s honorary general secretary (WCAI).
Gavaskar has also established himself as one of India’s leading commentators and columnists. He was the Chairman of the ICC cricket committee until the time he was forced to choose between commenting and being on the committee. He resigned from the committee to prolong his career as a broadcaster. He served as the interim president of the BCCI in 2014 during the IPL.
Awards and Honors
1980 – Received the Padmabhushan award
1984 – Sworn in as Bombay Sheriff for a year
1996 – The Border-Gavaskar trophy was instituted in his co-honour
2012 – Conferred with Col. CK Naidu Lifetime Achievement Award