India will complete 75 years of Independence this year. Here is a series acknowledging 75 great sporting achievements by Indian athletes. Sportstar will present one iconic sporting achievement each day, leading up to August 15, 2022.
The wonder is that the spark has endured so bright for so long. Sunil Gavaskar has not only broken all the conceivable endurance records in Test cricket but has also become the first batsman to make 10,000 runs, a feat considered impossible until three years ago when it swam into the realm of possibility because Gavaskar was still around and the spark in him was intact.
A self-motivating marvel who still believes records are made only to be broken, Gavaskar has left an indelible mark in a historically sapping career stretching across 16 years and 124 Tests (212 innings, 16 times not out, 10,005 runs, average 51.04, 34 centuries, 44 half centuries).
Through all this he has retained the zest and enthusiasm of a school boy who stole his first run on some street in Bombay.
A compact, technically correct and temperamentally well-equipped player, Gavaskar makes the art of batting look as close to being a science as is possible in sport. Batting has invariably been a cerebral exercise for him and that he has carried it out for so long is a tribute to his fierce commitment to proving that Indian cricket can produce world record breaking champions.
Beyond sport, his ability to organise his life to the last detail and meet myriad writing and multimedia commitments without failing to meet a deadline is a wondrous aspect of his personality. Very few celebrities have shown such an equable approach to fame, the occasional controversies springing up only in his cricket and not in his life.
This was published in The Hindu dated March 8, 1987.