Rich tributes paid to Gavaskar on 60th birthday

Cricketing greats paid glowing tribute to legendary Indian opener Sunil Gavaskar on his 60th birthday, describing him as one of the world's best batsmen.

updated: July 10, 2009 16:19 IST
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New Delhi:

Cricketing greats on Friday paid glowing tribute to legendary Indian opener Sunil Gavaskar on his 60th birthday, describing him as one of the world's best batsmen.

Gavaskar, the first ever batsman to complete 10,000 Test runs, was known for his solid technique and sound temperament in an international career spanning more than a decade.

The former India captain, who made his Test debut in the West Indies in 1971, quit the game in 1987 with 10,122 runs in Tests and 3,092 in One-Day Internationals.

Gavaskar then held the world record of 34 Test centuries before being surpassed by compatriot Sachin Tendulkar, who has 42 Test hundreds to his credit.

"There is no doubt that Sunny Gavaskar is one of the greats of the game of cricket," former England captain David Gower wrote in his column in the Hindu newspaper.

"It is down to drive and pride and Sunny possessed, indeed still possesses, both in abundance. You could see the pride in the way he represented India all those years earning the respect of all those who came up against him.

"He remains one of the shrewdest judges of the game of cricket and it is always stimulating to hear what he has to say about the game from the comfort of the commentary box."

Gavaskar rose to fame after his debut Test series in the West Indies, amassing 774 runs in four Tests at a Bradman-esque average of 154.80.

Former West Indies skipper Clive Lloyd, who watched Gavaskar from close quarters in that series, said he was highly impressed by the Indian.

"The talent aspect highlighted my first impressions of him. I admired his concentration skills and the ease with which he played," Lloyd wrote in his column in the same paper.

"He had so much time to play the ball and that is always a sign of a great player. He made a lot of runs against us and we knew for sure that here is a star for the future."

Gavaskar was involved in many engrossing duels with formidable West Indies pacemen, scoring 13 hundreds against them in 27 Tests.

"It was always a challenge to play against him because of his sheer skills," said Lloyd.

"Thirteen hundreds against the West Indies is no mean feat. What stood out was his concentration level and the ability to work things out."

Tendulkar, the world's leading run-scorer in Tests (12,773) and one-day internationals (16,684), said Gavaskar would always remain his hero.

"Whichever way you look at it, he (Gavaskar) is an institution. When he retired, for our generation, 34 Test hundreds was the ultimate ambition," Tendulkar wrote in the Hindustan Times.

"One of my abiding memories is my 34th Test century in Dhaka. For one, I had equalled him statistically, and he was present at the ground. It was wonderful to be hugged by him.

"I am really fortunate that I have had the wisdom of a legend to fall back on. He still is and will continue to remain my hero, the same person I first met in 1987."