Batting legend Sunil Gavaskar said luck played a big part earlier in his cricketing career which spanned over 16 years from making his Test debut in March, 1971 to playing his last One-Day-International (ODI) in November, 1987.
On the sidelines of the launch of former India opener Madhav Apte’s autobiography ‘As Luck Would Have It’ on late Friday, Gavaskar went down memory lane to put forward a couple of incidents that happened in his debut Test series when India toured the West Indies in 1971.
“I am here today only because of luck. Couple of incidents which happened against the West Indies in 1971 tour earlier on in my career proves it.
“In one of the Tests against them, I was batting on six when I hit a square cut and the ball was really travelling. Gary Sobers was fielding in the background and the ball hit him in the chest and fell in the ground and I survived. I went on to score a half-century,” the former Indian captain recalled.
Gavaskar, who scored 10,122 runs in 125 Tests, put forward another instance where luck played a big part while batting.
“On my way to my first Test century, I was on 94 when I played forward to a off-spinner and Gary used to stand just at the back of my back pocket and he was that close. But in anticipation that because I moved forward, Gary moved to his left towards forward short leg.
“The ball hit my gloves and popped back. If Gary would have been in the same position he was before, then it would have been a simple catch for him. Although he had to dive for it he couldn’t get it. And I went on to get a hundred. Now if that is not luck then I do not know what luck is,” the 65-year-old remembered.
Gavaskar also went down the memory lane and described how Sobers got back to fine form after just touching Gavaskar before every match to get some luck.
“And that evening itself we, the Indian team and the West Indian team came close to each other. Those were the days players came close to each other from different teams in opposition dressing rooms, Gavaskar, who scored 34 Test hundreds, recollected.
In the evening when we were having a get together, Gary started to tease me about luck. He said ‘you are so lucky man you got to a hundred you got a ton’. Then Gary said I am going to come and touch you now,” Gavaskar, who was a memeber of the 1983 cricket World Cup winning Indian team,” further added.
“As Gary was going through a lean patch at that time as a batsman, every morning he used to come to our dressing room and say hello to skipper Ajit Wadekar and others and touched me. He then went on to get a hundred.
“In the next match he again came to dressing room and touched me and again got a 78. Then in the fifth Test before Sobers coming to our dressing room, Wadekar locked me in the toilet so that Gary couldn’t touch me. Then next day first ball Gary was out bowled for a zero,” Gavaskar concluded.