I’m a big fan of Sunil Gavaskar

Having grown up at a time when there was no live television coverage, we would listen to cricket commentary on radio and read newspapers to check the results.

In 1996 during the World Cup, I used to host a television series, where Karsan Ghavri and Dilip Vengsarkar were my fellow hosts.   -  K. Bhagya Prakash

 

First things first, I am a big fan of Sunil Manohar Gavaskar. Having grown up at a time when there was no live television coverage, we would listen to cricket commentary on radio and read magazines and newspapers to check the results. And in those years, it was Mr. Gavaskar, who made us fall in love with cricket!

I remember, in 1977, when England travelled to India, that series was telecast on Doordarshan and as a seven-year-old, I would often visit my neighbour’s house in Calcutta to catch glimpses of that series on black and white television. And in that particular series, John Lever allegedly rubbed Vaseline onto one side of the ball so it would swing better. It became a big controversy then and as kids, we were curious to know what exactly had happened.

In 1978, when India toured Pakistan, we heard radio commentary on how Zaheer Abbas plundered India, and once again, it was Mr. Gavaskar, who held the fort for India and helped the team face Imran Khan and Sarfaraz Nawaz. It was also the first time, we saw the rise of a new hero — Kapil Dev.

After following the game on television and radio, I finally watched the India vs West Indies Test at Eden Gardens in the 1978-79 series. With most of its top players featuring in Kerry Packer’s league, the touring West Indies team, under the captaincy of Alvin Kallicharran, was quite a low-rung side. The side had lots of newbies, including Malcolm Marshall. Back then, watching Test cricket at Eden Gardens was more like a picnic, and I still remember how we would pack our lunch and watch the heroes live in action. It was a surreal feeling to watch a packed Eden Gardens cheering for India!

And to my delight, my hero — Mr. Gavaskar — scored a century in each innings — 107 and 182 not out. I was on cloud nine!

Back in those days, India was not a great sporting nation and Gavaskar inspired an entire generation to dream big. And even today, I remain a big fan of SMG!

In 1996 during the World Cup, I used to host a television series, where Karsan Ghavri and Dilip Vengsarkar were my fellow hosts. I also used to host a cricket show, which was produced by Joy Bhattacharjya and was directed by Shoojit Sircar. Rohan Gavaskar was one of the participants along with Syed Kirmani and Vengsarkar. So, it was great interacting with them about my hero, Mr. Gavaskar. It was a great experience and something that I will cherish forever!

Joy Sengupta is an Indian actor

As told to Shayan Acharya