By CricketCountry Staff
India vs New Zealand, Reliance World Cup, VCA Nagpur, October 31, 1987
India won by 9 wickets
For 16 long years, Sunil Gavaskar went about bulldozing records in Test cricket, much like Sachin Tendulkar does today. But, when it came to the abridged version of the game, the purist in his game could not come to terms with the corruptions and compromises over-limit game demanded. One-day cricket was still evolving and was a far cry from what it is today.
The maestro was at the very end of his career – in fact, the Nagpur game was his last but one game in One-Day International (ODIs). It would have been sad, despite his struggles with the one-day game, if he had ended his career without scoring an ODI hundred.
Gavaskar had figured in 105 ODIs without reaching three figures. But champions have a way of making statements, as only they can. Gavaskar made one such statement at Nagpur’s Vidarbha Cricket Association (VCA) which stunned the cricketing world.
Unwell going into the match, Gavaskar walked out to open the innings in a frame of mind that was quite alien to his nature. He unleashed a blistering attack on the New Zealand opening bowlers, Danny Morrison and Ewen Chatfield. With the Master in such a mood, even the parsimonious Chatfield wasn’t spared, as he plundered him for two successive sixes and successive fours in one over.
Jaws dropped as the cricketing fraternity watched Gavaskar overshadow Krishnamachari Srikkanth – his opening partner famed for aggressive strokeplay. The century stand for the opening wicket was posted in the 14th over, and just when it was promising more, Srikkanth fell with the score on 136.
The fall of Srikkanth had little impact on the belligerence of Gavaskar, who was now joined by Mohammed Azharuddin. Gavaskar’s scored his maiden ODI hundred off 85 balls and helped India close out the game with more than 10 overs to spare. His unbeaten 103 came off 88 balls, studded with 10 fours and three sixes.
What a player!