1. Sunil Gavaskar’s first runs in Test cricket were actually leg byes that were not given.
“As I took strike after Ashok (Mankad) had got three runs, I was a little afraid that I might not be up to the mark. (Vanburn) Holder thundered down and bowled on the leg stump. The ball struck my leg guards and went down to fine leg for two leg byes. But I was surprised to see that the umpire did not make any signal so I was off the mark with two runs when actually I should not have had any. This helped me to get rid of the fear of failure and I was soon middling the ball and clipped Holder to the square leg fence for my first boundary in Tests,” Gavaskar wrote about it in Sunny Days, his autobiography.
2. India’s cricket history could have been very different if not for the alertness of Gavaskar’s uncle during his birth. He spotted that Gavaskar had been mistakenly swapped with another newborn. The uncle had noticed a small hole near the top of Gavaskar’s left ear lobe and observed that the hole was missing in the child the next day. Gavaskar was finally found sleeping beside a fisherwoman.
Writing about the incident in Sunny Days, Gavaskar says: “Providence had helped me to retain my true identity, and, in the process, charted the course of my life. I have often wondered what would have happened it nature had not ‘marked’ me out, and given my ‘guard’ by giving me that small hole on my left earlobe; and if Nan-Kaka had not noticed this abnormality. Perhaps, I would have grown-up to be an obscure fisherman, toiling somewhere along the west coast. And what about the baby who, for a spell, took my place? I do not know if he is interested in cricket, or whether he will ever read this book. I can only hope that, if he does, he will start taking a little more interest in Sunil Gavaskar.”
3. Gavaskar is not the only international cricketer from his family. His maternal uncle was Madhav Mantri, who played four Tests for India. Gavaskar’s son, Rohan, represented India in 11 One-Day Internationals. GR Viswanath, the former India batsman, is Gavaskar’s brother-in-law. Gavaskar’s sister, Nutan, also played for Albees Cricket Club, the first women’s club in Mumbai.
4. Gavaskar played the lead role in a Marathi movie – Savli Premachi. He also did a cameo in Naseeruddin Shah’s film Maalamaal in 1988.
5. Gavaskar was appointed the Sheriff of Mumbai in 1994 for a year.
6. Gavaskar has sung a Marathi song ‘Ya Duniyemadhye Thambayaala Vel Konala’, depicting the similarities between a cricket match and real life.
7. Gavaskar has written four books – Sunny Days, Idols, Runs ‘n Ruins and One-Day Wonders.
8. Gavaskar wanted to be a wrestler and was a big fan of the legendary Maruthi Vadar before opting for cricket. Thankfully!