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Sunil Gavaskar doesn’t forget!

Updated on: 30 October,2021 07:05 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Harit Joshi |

Cricket legend Gavaskar reminds MCA of how he didn’t get awarded the best junior cricketer in 1965-66 while thanking them for the hospitality box honour

Sunil Gavaskar doesn’t forget!

Pic/ Suresh Karkera

Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray (second from left), his wife Rashmi (extreme left on stage), former India captain Dilip Vengsarkar (third from left), his wife Manali, Sachin Tendulkar, Sunil Gavaskar, his wife Marshneil, former Mumbai Cricket Association President Sharad Pawar and MCA chief Vijay Patil (extreme right) during the naming of the North Stand after Vengsarkar at the Wankhede Stadium yesterday

Sunil Gavaskar was at his inimitable best when his turn came to speak at the Wankhede Stadium on Friday. The legendary Indian opener was honoured with a hospitality box named after him at the Churchgate ground to celebrate 50 years of his Test match debut (March 6, 1971 v West Indies) by the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA). The hospitality box is located next to the commentary box. 

Gavaskar’s opening remarks had everyone in splits: “This is not my usual position to bat. I have always opened the batting, but here I am being sent as a tailender. So, I will limit my speech just as a tailender.” Gavaskar wholeheartedly thanked the MCA for the “huge” honour. “I would like to say that whatever I am today is because of the MCA. In 1965-66, you did not give me the Best Junior Cricketer award, but today you are honouring with this hospitality box,” he said. 

Grateful Gavaskar

Gavaskar also thanked Dr Makarand Waingankar for coming up with the idea of honouring him with a hospitality box. The occasion also marked the birth centenary of Madhav Mantri. Gavaskar, while paying glowing tributes to his uncle, recalled an important lesson he learnt from the former India cricketer. “I used to be fascinated whenever I opened his cupboard. There used to be so many blazers and Mumbai and India caps. I used to tell him, ‘Nana mama [as Gavaskar would fondly call him] give me at least one cap.’ But he never gave me any and stressed the importance of earning it. He would tell me that I would feel a different joy when I earn this cap because there is a lot of hard work and patience that go into it,” Gavaskar recalled.

“I am here because of the Mantri family. I would like to thank the MCA for recognising Nana Mama’s contribution. He was not just a player, but a selection panel chief and then an administrator. It is wonderful to name a tournament after him,” he said. 

CM lends support

Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray chose cricketing terms to express his joy for the game and the occasion. He assured the MCA that all issues with the Maharashtra government would be resolved at the earliest.

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