During his illustrious career, Sunil Gavaskar has played against some top-notch bowlers. And yet, the opening batsman scored heavily and was the first batsman to reach 10000 runs in Test cricket. During an interview, Gavaskar revealed that New Zealand’s Sir Richard Hadlee was perhaps the toughest that he faced in his career in New Zealand in 1981.
In a professional conversation with Rameez Raja, the Mumbai batsman spoke about the threat that the Pakistani bowlers posed. He revealed that when India toured Pakistan in 1982-83, the spells by Imran Khan and Sarfaraz Nawaz were quite torrid. Despite the absence of reverse swing in those times, the way ball kept swinging post-lunch was challenging to handle.
Nevertheless, the toughest test of his 16-year old career was when they locked horns in New Zealand on their soil. New Zealand’s decks are always known for green tracks that inevitably favour fast bowlers. And Richard Hadlee was the greatest all-rounder among their ranks then, widely regarded as a prolific wicket-taker.
Sunil Gavaskar recalls the toughest test match of his career:
The 70-year old recalled that he endured a torrid time facing the Christchurch-born bowler in three Tests in 1981, considering the bowler-friendly conditions. The tourists went on to lose that series as the Kiwis won the first Test in Wellington by 62 runs while the other two in Christchurch and Auckland resulted in a draw respectively.
” In 1982-83 when India toured Pakistan and the way Imran Khan bowled and picked up 40 odd wickets in the series it was tough. Every spell Imran and Sarfaraz (Sarfaraz Nawaz) bowled was testing. In those days nobody had heard about or seen reverse swing. The new ball wasn’t a problem but the way the ball swung post lunch was difficult to face.”
“Facing Richard Hadlee’s pace and swing in those conditions was very testing. The toughest test I would say was facing Hadlee in the three tests in New Zealand in 1981.” Gavaskar said as quoted by Hindustan Times.