Reviving the top four golden moments from Sunil Gavaskar's career on his birthday
- Happy Birthday, "Master Blaster" - the man responsible for India's prominence in the game.
Arguably one of the greatest batsmen to grace the game of cricket ever, Sunil Gavaskar had a principal role in keeping India prominent enough on the World Map as far as the sport was concerned.
That he played during the period of time in cricket known for a deadly spin and fiery pace-bowling, makes his achievements even more amazing.
Nicknamed "Sunny", the Indian opener fondly called "the Little Master" lived true to that description as he mastered his way across cricket grounds all over the world.
Even after he discontinued from direct involvement in the game, he lingered on as a commentator, motivator and so on, bringing out the best in an entire cricketing generation including the likes of Sachin Tendulkar, who all looked up to him as their role-model.
Sunil Gavaskar is widely regarded as the most successful opening batsman ever. Perfect technique combined with a rock-solid defence and extreme levels of concentration, helped the man from Mumbai to build his game.
There was no particular area in batting where he was weak as - he was equally strong off both feet, and was also an excellent timer of the ball. For those of us who haven't witnessed his games in real, his statistics do help - being the highest run-scorer in Test matches and the person with most centuries in the same format for some points of time, his numbers are indeed mind-boggling.
In many ways, Gavaskar is also responsible for India's cricket general, to be looked upon with respect over the world.
Teaching his often-underperforming team-mates the virtue of professionalism, Gavaskar played a major role in Indian cricket returning back to glory days.
Born July 10, 1949, the Indian batting prodigy celebrates his 69th birthday today, and on the occasion, let's take a look at some of the Golden moments from his career, in chronological order.
#1 Gavaskar's debut series, 1971 Feb-Apr
His inclusion into the squad was met with more than a tinge of scepticism at first, but soon afterwards, all doubts were quelled as Gavaskar smashed a series of records. Known for his ability to tackle fast bowling, Gavaskar was solid in defence against the lethal Windies pace-bowling bullies.
He began scoring a 65 and 67 not out on debut, winning the match for India in what was the only result-producing game of the series. By the end of the five-match series that India won 1-0, the opener had amassed 774 runs from the four games he played, at an astounding average of 154.80.
The tally still remains as the highest amount of runs scored by an individual batsman in an individual series. Gavaskar was named India's Best Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year in 1966. He was just seventeen years old then.
His consistent performances got him into the Mumbai Ranji circuit, where he made his debut in the 1968-1969 season.
A couple more years of more commanding batting performances and he soon found himself donning the whites for India against West Indies, in 1971.
Four hundreds and three fifties formed a major part of Gavaskar's debut series. In the final Test match of the series, he smashed a ton in the first innings and a double ton in the second one, becoming the only batsman after Doug Walters to achieve the feat.