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Sunil Gavaskar turns 75 today-2nd best to Bradman ?

Harsh Thakor

How great was Sunil Gavaskar?  

9 members have voted

  1. 1. How great was Sunil Gavaskar ?

    • 2nd best batsman to Bradman in test cricket
    • best opening batsman ever
    • In top 5 batsman of all time ?
    • In top 10 batsmen of all time
    • Best batsman of his era
    • Technically best of all batsmen
    • Best ever against pace

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Gavaskar possessed powers of concentration at a magnitude unparalleled, with his technique was flawless, capable of mastering all types of bowling, in any conditions His defence was impregnable and drives impeccable. In combating express pace, spin or the moving ball, Sunny was equally adept. I never saw batsmen leave a ball with such profound judgement as Sunil. He was equally productive on the back and front foot, and possessed every stroke in the book.

Gavaskar won 53 votes by ex-players for a selection in an all-time test XI, more than any other great opening batsmen. Most Pakistani greats rate Sunny the best opening batsmen of all time. 

Imran Khan classed Sunny as the most compact batsman ever while late Hanif Muhammad late Len Hutton,Viv Richards Gary Sobers and Martin Crowe ranked Sunny as the best batsman of his time.Ian Botham,Mike Brearley and Malcolm Marshall  rated Sunny the best opening batsman of his day . Cricket experts like Cristopher Martin Jenkins and John Woodcock placed Sunny within touching distance of Bradman. Don Bradman may have been unfair in excluding Gavaskar from his all-time XI but by a whisker my first choices would still be Barry Richards and Jack Hobbs. To me most unfairly Dennis Lillee does not rank Gavaskar amongst his very best, on grounds of his being a relatively slow scorer.

In list of all time 100 cricketers, Cristopher Martin Jenkins ranks Gavaskar at 26th place just like David Gower, while Geoff Armstrong at 23nd place..

In my view, Bradman or Tendulkar would not have combated ferocious pace or short pitched bowling against a new ball, as courageously or with as adept skill, that too without wearing a helmet, as Gavaskar. However, I would place both ahead of Sunny, because of sheer impact. Noteworthy that Gavaskar had a better 4th innings average than Tendulkar. Remarkable that Sunny took on express pace bowling without wearing a helmet. On bad wickets and technically in my opinion Gavaskar was the equal of Tendulkar, but still a better batsman in a crisis.

Comparing Gavaskar with Viv Richards is like comparing chalk with cheese.Viv was more mercurial than Sunny, but it was Gavaskar who was the more durable.

We must consider that Gavaskar bore the brunt of a weak team unlike Viv Richards with only Vishwanath playing a supporting role. To me still, if I had to back batsmen to score a century in any circumstances, my first choice would be Gavaskar. After Bradman I cannot envisage a batsmen re writing test match record books within such a short span of time as Gavaskar.

On pure statistical merit taking into account bowling attacks faced there is a strong case for Gavaskar being rated the best batsmen of his time, 2nd best test match batsmen to Bradman and best opener ever. However aesthetic or x factor is where he arguably lost out to the likes of Tendulkar,Lara ,Viv Richards or Sobers, who all had more inherent attacking ability to turn games.

 Weighing all factors in my view Gavaskar ranks at 8th place amongst all –time great batsmen, behind Bradman, Hobbs, Viv Richards, Lara, Tendulkar,Sobers, and Hammond  and on par with Hutton. I would place Sunny amongst the 25 best cricketers of all time. Amongst opening batsmen I place him in 3rd place behind Jack Hobbs and Barry Richards. Hobbs was more proven on bad wickets and more impactful while Barry was more explosive and thus a better match-winner. Still it is almost impossible to make a comparison of batsmen from different eras, with such variance in conditions. I assert that even if there were more gifted batsman, Gavaskar had features to his batting character that no batsman could eclipse.

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A cricketer with a str rate of near 40 in test cricket can never be the greatest of all time, he is still one of the best ever but the stroke makers with equally good records will be rated higher.

I think these players are definitely ahead of Gavaskar :
Viv Richards
Steve Smith
Gary Sobers

For me he is GOAT opener though

Edited by Adamant
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Outside Indian forum, most would have Hobbs ahead of him, averaging 58 with bat and Hutton averages 56.


Gavaskar is best opener in test cricket post 1960.


I think for all time, he is among the top 10 test batsman of all-time.


Don Bradman

Gary Sobers

Jack Hobbs 

Sachin Tendulkar

Viv Richards


Brian Lara 

Steve Smith

Len Hutton

Sunil Gavaskar

Greg Chappell



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Gavaskar thought his utter lack of team spirit is a batting virtue, he. Says best way to stay not out is to be in non striker end. No wonder he was often lone batter. He is not greatest in anything. But he is better than Sachin Tendulkar, this is so that all Sachin bhaakts can shove it up their anterior.. 

5 minutes ago, Vilander said:

Yes after Imran khan, moshin khan.. Livedale balance op do you start any sentence without Imran khan you pant of sheet. 


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Mr. Gavaskar was the first ever world class sportsperson India produced.


I haven't watched Bradman play, so I cannot compare the two. I also haven't seen many of past greats - Len Hutton, Geoff Boycott, Gary Sobers, Wally Hammond. Very hard to compare players from different era based on numbers.


I have however watched Sunny play (lucky me). And I have been lucky enough to have seen many of modern greats. Rahul Dravid, Jacques Callis, Sangakkara, Brian Lara, Sachin Tendulkar, Ricky Ponting. For the format of the day, Test cricket, the great SMG was definitely better than these stalwarts of the game.


That was the era of Test cricket. ODI cricket had not even been born when the Sun rose in Indian cricket. ODI cricket began not too late after that but most Indian cricketers including Sunny had not warmed up to the format yet. India winning the 1983 ODI WC was noting sort of a miracle. A unexpected outcome.


Back to sunny, Sunny played the cricket of the era, in the manner it was played. And he played hard! Enormous concentrating power, extreme focus and game awareness. One of the first books (outside of my syllabus text books) I read was a book authored by Sunny. Every cricketer, whether a school kid, or an international star, should read that book. That book may have something for even an international star to learn.


When Sunny retired, the Sun was still shining bright. He didn't bow out because he was not playing as good as he used to. He was still in his prime when he retired. Possibly the ODI format messed up his mind and made him retire sooner than he should have. He could have easily played another 2-3 years of test cricket.


Yet, when he retired, he was a cricketing mountain of his own. 10,000 runs in Test cricket, which was unimaginable at the time. (Years later Allan Border got there, second on that mount Everest of runs). Sunny retired with 10,122 runs to his name, and an unimaginable 34 Test centuries. Just how incredible were 34 Test centuries back in the time cannot not be fathomed today, with most big nations playing dozen odd Test matches each year giving Test regulars opportunity to score 1000+ runs each calendar year with several centuries to their name. Considering that the GOAT Bradman had only 29 centuries to his, 34 seemed like a peak that will never be conquered. Sunny debuted over half a century ago, and retired 37 years ago, yet he stands 7th on the list of batters with most Test centuries. That says something!


He had a bunch of great contemporaries. Gary Sobers, Greg Chappel, Allan Border. They all had better stroke-play, and were more entertaining to watch. But Sunny stood taller than them on the account of not having support from the other end. He often waged a lone battle. He opened the batting for India (unlike other prolific run-getters among his contemporaries) and blunted some of the fiercest bowlers of all time. Michael Holding, Malcolm Marshall, Andy Roberts and Joel Garner, Denis Lille, Jeff Thomson he faced them all, blunted them all, and scored heavily against them with not much support from the other end.


With time, game evolved. Playing conditions evolved. Batting gear, knowledge of opponents evolved. As batting became an easier art we have seen many stunning performers over the decades. Lara, Tendulkar, Waugh, Ponting, Sangakkara, Callis, Dravid, Cook. All more prolific batters in a sense. But no one comes close to Sunny due to the era he played in.


In my mind, SMG remains the best Test opening act of all time. There have been several prolific batters afterwards who ended their career with better numbers overall, but none of them were openers, and none of them were from Sunny's era, which was possibly the most difficult era for a Test opening batsman.


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