Former Pakistan captain Inzamam-Ul-Haq has showered plenty of praises on Sunil Gavaskar, who turned 71 recently. While Inzamam-Ul-Haq reputation as one of Pakistan’s best batsman is lofty, the 50-year old credited Sunil Gavaskar for refining his technique against short-pitched deliveries. The 378-ODI veteran reckons that Gavaskar’s record in Test cricket of 10000 runs in 125 fixtures was very precious.
Sunil Gavaskar was perhaps one of the greatest opening batsmen of his era and boasted of a reputation of batting bravely, especially against West Indies. Gavaskar was the first batsman to reach the milestone of 10000 runs in Test cricket while his 34 centuries at an average of above 50 was also a world record once.
Inzamam-Ul-Haq recalled the tour of England in 1992 for which he got the nod after his superlative showing in the World Cup that year. However, he faced difficulties against short-pitched deliveries and had no idea how to counter them. The right-handed batsman made his first trip to England that year. And it was during a charity match in England that Inzamam sought Gavaskar’s advice.
“I went to England after 1992 World Cup at the back of a tremendous performance in the mega event. It was my first-ever tour to England. I didn’t have any idea as how should I play on those pitches. I was going through a bad patch as I was unable to play shortpitched deliveries,”
“It was somewhere half of our season that I met him at a charity match in England. We both had gone to play that match. And I asked him ‘Sunil bhai I’m facing problems to play short-pitched balls, what should I do’?,” Inzamam stated as quoted by Gulf News.
Gavaskar gave him a simple piece of advice of not to think of short-pitched deliveries since a batsman gets trapped if they do. Hence, the Indian batsman merely informed that you would understand when the bowler delivers it.
“As great are the ways of the great, he told me to do only one little thing, that is, don’t think about short-pitched balls or bouncers while batting because the moment you’ll think about them you’ll get trapped. He told me that when the bowler would deliver the ball you would automatically understand; so don’t get worried about that,”
Inzamam revealed that when he followed that advice and went about it at nets, the weakness went away. And till his retirement in 2007, he did not face the issue, amassing 8830 runs and 11739 ODI runs.
“While in nets, I started practising the way he told me. I strengthened my mind, telling myself not to think about that [short-pitched balls]. The weakness was removed. And from 1992 till the time I retired, I never faced that problem again,”
“I’ll say Sunil’s 10,000 runs of that era are equal to today’s 15,000 to 16,000 runs” : Inzamam-Ul-Haq
Inzamam-Ul-Haq hailed Sunil Gavaskar for his dedication to reach 10000 runs in Test cricket, having leapfrogged all other greats during his time. The former national chief national selector also said that only a few players have reached the 10000-run mark as of today.
“There were several great players in his era as well as before that. There were batsmen like Javed Miandad, Viv Richards, Garry Sobers and Don Bradman but none of them thought to reach to the figure. Even in today’s cricket when there is too much Test cricket, there are very few players who’ve achieved that feat,”
Furthermore, Inzamam was awestruck by the 71-year old’s ability to score 10000 Test runs on challenging tracks during old times. Hence, those many runs are equivalent to 15000-16000 as of today.
“If [as a batsman] your form is good you can even score 1000 to 1500 runs in a season. But when Sunil was batting, the situation was not like that. Today purely batting wickets are prepared so that you can continue scoring runs. The ICC also wants to see batsmen doing that so that spectators are entertained,”
“But in the past wickets were not so easy to bat on, especially when you were playing outside the sub-continent. Considering all that if you ask me, I’ll say Sunil’s 10,000 runs of that era are equal to today’s 15,000 to 16,000 runs. These can be more than that but not less in anyway,” he added.