Vantage point

Tuesday, July 08, 2003


Javed Miandad, one of the greatest batsmen the game of cricket has seen, has recently come out with this autobiography - "Javed Miandad's Cutting Edge - My Autobiography". Following is an excerpt from the book -

India has had a rich tradition of producing quality batsmen. Top of the list is Sunil Gavaskar who, along with Viv Richards, became a legend in his own time. After Gavaskar, the Indian batsman everyone talks about is Sachin Tendulkar. Tendulkar is certainly one of the genuine greats, but in my view Gavaskar was superior.

There was something else about Sunil Gavaskar. A short fellow with a refined bearing, Gavaskar consistently got hundreds and double-hundreds against top-class bowling. Compared with Tendulkar, he made his runs against a better quality of opposition. Gavaskar's supremacy was clear from very early on. In his debut Test series, on a tour to West Indies in 1970-71, he made 65, 67, 116, 64, 1, 117, 124 and 220. He had the rare gift of making runs when they were most needed. The highest fourth innings total ever made to win a Test is 406-4 by India against West Indies at Port-of-Spain in 1975-76, a score that was set up by a pivotal 102 from Gavaskar.

On another occasion, India once got to 429-8 needing 438 to win in the fourth innings of a Test against England at the Oval in 1979; Gavaskar led the charge with an unblemished 221.

In fact, if I were to pick one person who to my mind personified cricket greatness, I would-without hesitation-point to Sunil Gavaskar. A man of character, a gentleman, a cricketer with incredible skill and tenacity, and yet a humble man, down-to-earth, honest, sincere and utterly fair.

All hail the original little master, Sunil Gavaskar. Though I am a Tendulkar fanatic, he has many mountains to climb before he can be thought of as having done as much for Indian test cricket as Gavaskar.