Sunil Gavaskar was today conferred with the Golden Jubilee Lifetime Achievement Award by the Sports Journalists’ Association of Mumbai (SJAM) in Mumbai.
The award was presented by former India captain Ajit Wadekar and former India player Madhav Apte at the Cricket Club of India in Mumbai.
Gavaskar was presented with a citatation and a certificate which has details of all his 34 centuries. Gavaskar narrated incidents how West Indies great Gary Sobers touched him for luck.
“My first innings in Test cricket, Gary Sobers dropped a simple catch, when I was barely on 12. The second Test, which was my second Test, again he dropped me very early and then I went on to get hundred.
“In those days, the dressing rooms were not far away from each other and at the end of the day’s play both the teams would come together, have a beer, and Lance Gibbs and Gary Sobers started teasing me. Lance started asking me what do you eat for breakfast,” because Gary had dropped me.
“The leg-pulling went on to an extend, till Gary Sobers said “From tomorrow onwards, I am going to touch you for luck,” Gavaskar fondly recalled.
Gavaskar said a similar thing happened in the next Test.
“Come next Test and Gary would come in, it was West Indies turn to bat, he touched me for luck and this was in Barbados, he smashed a 178. We come to the last Test, which was a 6-day Test. So, he comes and touches me for luck and he has got another 100–130. Ajit (Wadekar) was getting very upset about it and he is saying what are you doing, when he comes. Where can I hid,” he chuckled.
“On the final day, he is coming, you go and hide. No, Ajit has forcibliy taken me and taken to a toilet,” he said.
Gavaskar recalled when Sobers was gone, Ajit said he does not want to take a chance. He said that in that innings Abid Ali got Gary out for a duck and said when he got back to the dressing room, Ajit Wadekar is the first one to say I didn’t allow him (to touch).
Wadekar, Apte, his son Rohan Gavaskar, close friend and former Mumbai captain Milind Rege narrated their experiences about the legend. Indian coach Anil Kumble was present at the event.