Legendary Indian cricketer Sunil Gavaskar is celebrating his 72nd birthday today. The opening batsman is well-known in India, both as a cricketer and a commentator. But did you know that Gavaskar was hugely popular in the Caribbean in the 1970s. His exploits against the West Indies fast bowlers is the stuff of legends. The former India skipper also had a Calypso song dedicated to him once.
Calypso-singer Willard Harris, famous as Lord Relator, had composed a song on India’s conquest against the West Indies in a five-match Test series in 1971.
The lyrics of the song goes like this, “It was Gavaskar, the real master, just like a wall. You know the West Indies could not out Gavaskar at all.” The line “West Indies couldn’t out Gavaskar at all” became legendary. The line summed up how India had defeated the West Indies in the Test series at their home. India won the series by 1–0. It was India’s first-ever Test victory and Test series victory over the West Indies.
This song became famous and was often played in matches of India and West Indies. In 2016, in a conversation with Wisden India, Lord Relator said he was inspired by Gavaskar’s handling of fast bowling. He has even crooned the song in front of Gavaskar at a few functions.
Gavaskar made his Test debut against West Indies at the age of 22. He was at the heart of India’s victory against the West Indies. In the final Test match, he scored 124 and 220 to become only the second Indian batsman to score a century in each innings at that time. In the five-match series, he scored 774 runs at an average of 154.80.
Born on July 10, 1949, in Mumbai, Gavaskar scored 2749 runs at an average of 65.45 in 27 Tests against an unmatched West Indies team with 13 centuries against them.