Veteran Indian batsman Sunil Gavaskar has turned 72 today. The legendary opener scored 10,122 runs in 125 Tests, while he contributed 3,092 runs in 108 ODIs as well for India. Sunil Gavaskar was the first player to score 10,000 runs in Test cricket. His record of hitting 34 centuries in Tests remained a world record for a long time. Gavaskar had great success against the West Indies and was known for playing against them without a helmet.
Gavaskar’s commitment to bat without a helmet had put his life in danger once. In 1983, Gavaskar was hit by a bouncer by Malcolm Marshall, one of the fastest bowlers of that period. Such was the intensity of the bouncer that the ball went off quite a distance after hitting Gavaskar in the forehead.
This was the third Test between India and West Indies at Georgetown in Guyana. Gavaskar hadn’t scored over 50 in the first two matches of the series. He was under pressure in the third Test and was hit by Marshall when he was at the score of 49.
To stop Gavaskar from getting a half-century, Marshall bowled a sharp bouncer which went straight to Gavaskar’s forehead. Seeing this incident, the Indian dressing room was shaken but Gavaskar did not even blink. He was still standing as before and hit a four on the next ball of Marshall and completed his half-century.
What happened next was a display of top-quality Test batting. Gavaskar scored an undefeated 147 against a pace attack which comprised Marshall, Michael Holding, Joel Garner and Andy Roberts.
In his career, Gavaskar scored 2749 runs at an average of 65.45 in 27 Tests against the great West Indies team. He scored 13 centuries against them. Gavaskar’s fearless batting against the West Indies pacers makes him one of the greatest openers to have ever played the game.