JUNE 7, 2022
Sunil Gavaskar was the first batter to scale the 10,000-run mountain in Test cricket and is regarded as one of the greats of the game. Gavaskar was the backbone of India’s batting lineup back in the day.
The former India captain became a household name in the broadcasting world after he bid adieu to the game.
#OnThisDay in 1983, Sunil Gavaskar went past Don Bradman and scored his 30th Test century
He made 236 not out against West Indies in Chennai. pic.twitter.com/npYF3JIosK
— ICC (@ICC) December 28, 2019
Gavaskar is often seen criticising players for their lack of intent but he himself played a knock in a World Cup match that was hard to digest while chasing a huge total in 1975.
India were up against England in the first-ever World Cup match at the Lord’s Cricket Ground. It was a 60-over per side game and England smashed Indian bowlers all over the park to post a mammoth total of 334 for four.
#OnThisDay in 1975, a bizarre innings became the talking point on the opening day of the first men’s World Cup!
Chasing 335 in 60 overs against England, India crawled to 132 for 3, with opener Sunil Gavaskar unbeaten on 36
— ESPNcricinfo (@ESPNcricinfo) June 7, 2022
Chasing 335 for the win, India lost just three wickets but fell way short of the target as they could only muster 132 runs and lost the match by 202 runs.
Gavaskar, who opened the innings for India in that match, played a knock that still is hard to decode. The batter remained not out at the end of the innings. He scored only 36 runs and played 174 deliveries.
Back when it happened, the Indian team manager GS Ramchand had blasted one of the team’s best batters for playing a selfish knock that brought shame to the team.
The beginning of the World Cup and Gavaskar refused to score.#OnThisDay in 1975, Sunil Gavaskar scored just 36 runs (not out) off 174 balls while chasing England’s 335 in 60 overs in the opening game of World Cup 1975. pic.twitter.com/gESOK2FLcx
— Cricketopia (@CricketopiaCom) June 7, 2022
Ramchand had mentioned that Gavaskar told him it was a slow wicket and he found it difficult to play shots. However, the team manager was in no mood to listen to any of Gavaskar’s excuse and termed it as ‘stupid.’
“It was the most disgraceful and selfish performance I have ever seen. His excuse (to me) was, the wicket was too slow to play shots but that was a stupid thing to say after England had scored 334. The entire party is upset about it. Our national pride is too important to be thrown away like this,” GS Ramchand was quoted as saying by ESPNCricinfo.
Gavaskar also admitted that it was the worst innings of his long career that lasted over a decade. The ‘little master’, as he is called, said that he felt like he should get away from the stumps and get bowled but nothing worked on that day.
The former India captain even apologized to his fans for spoiling their day by playing such a knock.
“It was by far the worst innings I have ever played. There were occasions when I felt like moving away from my stumps, so that I would be bowled. This was the only way to get rid of the mental agony from which I was suffering. I was dropped thrice, off fairly easy chances too. I was in a curious position. I couldn’t force the pace and I couldn’t get out, even when I tried to. Towards the end, I played mechanically. I can understand the crowd’s reaction and I am genuinely sorry for spoiling their day,” Gavaskar was quoted as saying by The Times of India.
No apology can cure the amount of frustration that the fans would have faced watching their hero make a mockery of an international game.