Sunil ‘Sunny’ Gavaskar is the idol of millions the world over. His magic with the bat created
several records and won the hearts of as many. Even his severest critics had to concede that he was
indeed the ‘Little Master’!
His transition from a cricketer to being a critic and a columnist, whom the entire media hankers
after, has indeed been a welcome one. As he celebrates his sixtieth birthday, there could be no
better tribute than an anthology of ‘sixty’ of Sunil Gavaskar’s best articles. They reflect the man
and are like him – ‘no holds barred’! He minces no words and says it like it is. He talks about the
greats of yesteryears, his heroes that include the late M.L. Jaisimha and Don Bradman amongst
others. He talks about what ails the cricketing world and also how the Indian cricket team is truly
a force to reckon with.
Straight Drive is timeless, quite like the man, and is a must read for all die-hard fans of
Sunil Manohar Gavaskar (b. 10 July 1949) was brought up in Mumbai where he attended St.
Xavier’s High School and St Xavier’s College. He inherited his interest in cricket from his parents
and uncle and justified their high hopes when, in 1961, at the age of twelve, he distinguished
himself in inter – school tournaments. The College XI, the Irani Cup and the Ranji Trophy paved the
way for his selection in Test cricket. In 1971, Gavaskar made his debut in the West Indies where he
scored an average of 154.8. With 34 Test centuries to his credit, Gavaskar surpassed Donald
Bradman’s thirty – five year – old record of 29 Test centuries. He has played 125 Test matches
scoring 10,122 runs; 108 One Day matches and scored 3,092 runs and holds the distinction of
captaining India in 47 Tests. Gavaskar has been felicitated with the Arjuna Award in 1975, Padma
Bhushan in 1980, and the Maharashtra Bhushan Award in 1999.
Sunil Gavaskar is a TV commentator for Sharjah, BBC, Channel 9 Network, ESPN Star Sports and Neo
Sports. He has held several important posts including that of chairman of ICC Cricket Committee,
National Cricket Committee and the BCCI Technical Committee. He also has to his credit four books
including Sunny Days (1976), Idols (1983), Runs n’ Ruins (1984) and One Day Wonders (1985).
Many years have passed since Sunil’s first ever book Sunny Days was published in 1976 and welcomed
by the sports loving public. Since the new always toyed with the suggestion that Sunil wrote a
‘sequel’ narrating further progress in career in his won inimitable style. We broached the subject
to him a few times but there was no real enthusiastic response.
Writing, especially an autobiography, is an impulsive passion which requires an appropriate
environment. Sunil’s sights were then on television commentary which had just commenced in India on
the arrival and progress of satellite television in general. He got fully immersed in it and
thoroughly enjoyed it, and still does.
Despite this little diversion, however, his main passion at heart for writing continued in the shape
of columns on the various sporting events. Over these years, more then 600 columns have been
published in many regional national and international newspapers and magazines, appreciated by the
sporting public for his frank and witty appraisal of the events.
Quite a number of biographies have been written on his achievements but not his own after Sunny
When we celebrated our own sixty – first wedding anniversary last year, this suggestion surged in
our minds once again and with his consent we decided to publish a book containing sixty – one
selected columns written over a period to coincide with his ‘Sixty – First’ birthday.
The selection is an appreciative, emotional, and instructive appraisal of the persons and events
around him now that he also reaches his own milestone, ‘Sixty’ on 10 July 2009.
I love writing. Perhaps even more than I loved batting. I love reading too though as the eyes start
to him the reading is restricted considerably. During a Test match I would be able to finish two
novels easily especially if I got out early. Though the reading has become less, the writing has
increased. These is not the slightest doubt in my mind that I am writing too much but then I really
do enjoy it.
I write from the heart; very, very seldom with the head and that’s why I get into controversies.
Incidents, people, happenings, personalities, which could have been worked differently if I had used
my head instead of my heart, would not have offended. It has never been personal though but only the
love of the game and my country which makes me write what comes out strongly because I feel strongly
about it. I have never been afraid of repercussions simply because I am not interested in positions
nor looking for favours and besides it would have curbed my writing.
What I have curbed is the instinct to write a book after One – Day Wonders. Friends and family have
tried to persuade me to complete my autobiography after Sunny Days. That and the other books were
controversial because they were honest and any autobiography which is honest is bound to generate
controversy and I am getting to the age where I don’t want any controversies if I can avoid it. I
get enough when I write a strong column.
My parents wanted me to bring out another book. So here it is. All the columns have been selected by
my dear father. He loved them when they were written then and felt they should be read again by
those who may have missed out when they first appeared years ago.
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