Sunil Gavaskar just can't forget that call from Vinoo Mankad in 1971

Apr 13, 2017, 08:38 IST | Clayton Murzello

Forty-six years ago, a young Sunil Gavaskar walked towards his Hindu Colony home in Dadar in the hope of hearing news of the Indian team's selection for the 1971 tour of the West Indies

Sunil Gavaskar during a function to commemorate Vinoo Mankad’s birth centenary at CCI yesterday. Pic/Bipin Kokate
Sunil Gavaskar during a function to commemorate Vinoo Mankad’s birth centenary at CCI yesterday. Pic/Bipin Kokate

Forty-six years ago, a young Sunil Gavaskar walked towards his Hindu Colony home in Dadar in the hope of hearing news of the Indian team's selection for the 1971 tour of the West Indies.

Having spent most of his day in Churchgate – at the Mumbai Cricket Association's Brabourne Stadium office to enquire about the team selection - and then watching a movie at Eros with friend Saeed Hattea to kill time so that they could check about the team later in the evening - the then 21-year-old Gavaskar entered his home only to be told that there was someone special on the telephone.

That man was Vinoo Mankad whose birth centenary was celebrated by the Legends Club at Cricket Club of India. Gavaskar revealed that it was Mankad who delivered the news of his India selection.

"Beta," said Mankad, "well done, you have been selected. Now, go on and bat freely." Gavaskar admitted that he forgot to ask Mankad if Hattea, also a contender, was in the team. He later discovered over the radio that the Mumbai pacer hadn't made it, but he didn't have the heart to call his mate about his non-selection. Gavaskar and Hattea are still the closest of friends.

Mankad was Gavaskar's coach at St Xavier's College. The batting maestro said he loves seeing Mankad's name on the honours board at Lord's where Mankad scored 184 and took five wickets in England's first innings of the 1952 Test. "After so many years, it is still referred to Mankad's Test," stressed Gavaskar.

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