DECEMBER 26, 2022
There`s a story in Sunil Gavaskar’s autobiography, Sunny Days that provides an insight into his mother’s love for cricket, her son, her courage.
Kid Gavaskar was playing with his mother, who regularly lobbed tennis balls to him at their then residence in central Mumbai. One shot from young Gavaskar hit his mother’s nose. There was blood and soon Gavaskar Jr was scared. Gavaskar wrote that his mother just “shrugged it off, washed her face and as the bleeding stopped, we continued the game.”
Meenal Gavaskar passed away on Sunday morning in her late nineties while the batting legend was in Bangladesh on commentary duty. She not only took great interest in her son’s cricketing career. She also doted on Gavaskar’s childhood friend Milind Rege.
Recently, Rege revealed on the mid-day Mumbai Cricket Podcast with Clayton Murzello that Meenal Gavaskar refused them permission to go on the 1967 India Schoolboys tour England because the series would interfere with their studies.
The sister of former Test wicketkeeper Madhav Mantri once admitted that she couldn’t eat her meals when her son was batting. That revelation came in her book in Marathi titled, Putra Whava Aisa (This is what a son should be).
In a translated chapter that appeared in Sportsweek’s World of Cricket (Jan-March 1984), Meenal Gavaskar dwelled on the time her son was eagerly awaiting the news of the 1971 Indian team to the West Indies, for which he was eventually picked for: “The tension was too much for Sunil. To get relief from it, he decided to have a stroll. He must have hardly reached the door, when the telephone rang breaking the hush-hush silence of the house. Sunil’s father took it. ‘Is Sunil there? I am Vinoo Mankad speaking.’ Sunil came running and grabbed the phone. Vinoo Mankad congratulated him for his inclusion in the side. Our joy knew no bounds.”