Pitches in India are known to assist spinners, and not so much to fast bowling. But former India skipper Sunil Gavaskar recalled one particular surface that was heaven for the fast bowlers, and went on to describe as one of the toughest pitch in India to bat on. In his career Gavaskar scored over 10000 Test runs and batted on some of the quickest wickets in the world including Jamaica, Perth and Brisbane, but none came close to the Chennai wicket which hosted the West Indies.
“The hardest pitch that I have played on was in Chennai in 1978 against the West Indies. It was the fastest pitch that I played on. I’ve played at Sabina Park on a couple of occasions where the ball was flying. I’ve played at Perth. I’ve played at the Gabba where the ball was travelling," Gavaskar said on The Cricket Analyst podcast.
“I’ve played on a rain-fresh pitch at Sydney when Jeff Thomson was really letting it rip. But that pitch in Chennai with Sylvester Clarke. The ball was just flying around. I think that’s the most difficult pitch I’ve batted on."
Gavaskar also played with some of finest all-rounders from his time like Kapil Dev, Imran Khan, Ian Botham and Richard Hadlee. But he picked West Indian Sir Garfield Sobers as the greatest of all time.
“The greatest all-rounder that I saw was Sir Garfield Sobers because he was quite simply somebody who could change the game with the bat, he could change the game with the ball. He could change the game by taking an incredible catch close in or even in the outfield. But the impact that he had and the number of matches he turned with both bat and ball is the reason why he was the greatest all-rounder that I have seen."