Jun 5, 2016

Review: SMG A Biography Of Sunil Manohar Gavaskar

SMG A Biography Of Sunil Manohar Gavaskar SMG A Biography Of Sunil Manohar Gavaskar by Devendra Prabhudesai
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I have to thank the author for making me remember my childhood days. Sunil Gavaskar is my cricket hero. My father introduced me not only comics but also cricket by buying sports magazines and making me to read.

The book like a batsman takes guard by going into the background of middle class Maratha family brining up. Then the author dives into his birth and how he took up cricket, his school days with much detail.

The author has interspersed the biography with interviews of Gavaskar friends related to the particular topic in the chapter. Devendra Prabhudesai, from mesmerizing Sunil's innings had given more details of how Sunny played, his foot work and what kind of strokes he used to tackle the bowler, which made me feel I was there and watching the match again.

Not only he has described in detail the highs and lows of Sunil but also the controversy. When one say about Sunil the detractors will point to two episodes in life the one is Sunny's one day innings of 36 not out and another misbehaviour in Melbourne when got out by Dennis Lillee. I will give you the second incident from the point of view of Sunil. The background of the story, India is down in the series and Sunil batting is not clicking. But in Melbourne Sunil concentration and wrist work returned and he is aiming to get a century on facing Dennis Lillee bowling attack. After reaching 50 a low ball snicks the bat and hits the pad, the umpire Rex Whitehead rises his hand for leg before. Sunil says bat pad and then he starts his walk to the pavilion.

He had completed about one-fourth of the walk back to the pavilion when his ears were alerted to an association drawn by one of the Australians between him and a part of the female anatomy. It was then that Kirmani's walk out threat of the previous day flashed across his mind. Something snapped.

Then he went back to the non strikers end and pushed his partner Chauhan to accompany him to pavilion. The part did by Gavaskar is not sportsmanship but they have provoked him. Below is what Sunil now says;

From Sunil's quote:
I have to admit that it was an absolutely inexcusable behaviour on my part, for whatever the provocation, I should have kept my cool as I was the captain of the team. Sport star 20.2.1999.

Still people say this that Sunil walked off, but they hide the fact what made him to take that decision.

Don Bradman's quote about Sunil Gavaskar

It pains me that I did not get the opportunity to play alongside Sunil, but then, I had retired from Test cricket before he was born.

On reading about some of the matches I had watched were during the fag end of Gavaskar's career, we had TV by 1981 but at the time not all matches are telecasted. We have to get the scores from the Radio commentary. One such incident I remember is when I was 10 years old, after finishing my early dinner sat near the radio for the commentary of Indian innings in Kingston, Jamaica 1983. He was going good then the commentator said Gavaskar was out on 20. That part was in the book which made me nostalgic.

Sunil's famous head gear:

Like Viv Richards Gavaskar also did not use helmet. But in the final year in his career Gavaskar used custom made helmet. Below is the extract.

Sunil unveiled another custom made accessory. Unlike his lightweight leg guards and boots, this one was visible only when he took his sun hat off. It was a skullcap made of fibreglass. He had got it made during his stint with Somerset, after seeing Mike Brearley wear it. The skullcap maker, who was based in Nottingham, had made the headgear in accordance with Sunil's instructions, one of which was that the top be left open, so that he could wear the sun hat over it.

The final chapters ends with the statistics of Gavaskar's batting performance. Since I am using Kindle I cannot read as the stats are given in small letters apart from this complaint the book is a must for Indian cricket fans and especially Sunil fans.

I again thank the author for the painstaking work he had did in this book.

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  1. Wonderful that you experienced going back to your
    childhood and remembering your father's influence
    as a threshold into this book.
    Nice critique as always.