Mumbai: Former India opener Krishnamachari Srikkanth believes that Sunil Gavaskar was one of the greatest leaders of Indian cricket and it was his good fortune to also be Gavaskars opening partner, apart from playing under him. He picked the Madras Test against Pakistan in 1987 as one of his favourite moments playing with the legend.
Speaking on Star Sports 1 Tamil show “Cricket Connected — Aattam Thodarum”, former India batsman Srikkanth spoke about Sunil Gavaskar, who turns a year older on July 10, “Sunny! Many many happy returns of the day. Just imagine. I played under the captaincy of a great leader, Sunil Gavaskar and also I got to play as his opening partner. This is all God’s grace, nothing else! One of my favourite moments with Sunil Gavaskar is the Madras Test against Pakistan in 1987. It was his last series. He always used to tell me, ‘Cheeka! One day I’ll definitely score a fifty faster than you in the same match.’
“Finally, this wish of Sunil became a reality in the Madras Test. I scored a century in that match. But, living up to his words, Sunil was the first to score 50 runs and I reached my 50 one ball later. I can’t even believe that Sunil really did this and also, it happened in Chennai. He played aggressively and superbly in that match, and ended up scoring 91 runs.”
Gavaskar recently said that he still does not know why he was removed as captain despite winning a home Test series against the West Indies in 1978-79 where he also scored over 700 runs. The BCCI replaced him with S. Venkataraghavan as captain of the team. India had won the six-match Test series 1-0.
“I was replaced as captain despite India winning the series against the West Indies (1978-79) and in which I got more than 700 runs. I still don’t know the reason for it, but can only surmise that it was because I had been pretty open about the offer to join Kerry Packer’s World Series Cricket. However, I signed the BCCI contract before the selection, thereby proving where my loyalties lay,” Gavaskar wrote in his column for Mid-Day.
Gavaskar also said he had to convince selectors to keep spin great Bishan Singh Bedi in the side. “The committee decided to drop Mr B.S. Bedi after three Test matches. In fact, they wanted to drop him straightaway after I replaced him as skipper after the series loss in Pakistan. I argued that he was still the best left-arm spinner in the country and so they reluctantly agreed to pick him for the first Test,” Gavaskar wrote.