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By G Krishnan
Gavaskar Senior, at the age of 64, made his Ranji Trophy debut on Wednesday. The legendary opening batsman, after decades of doing television commentary on international matches, aired his views on a domestic cricket match for the first time during the Mumbai-Maharashtra Ranji Trophy quarterfinals at the Wankhede Stadium, that is being telecast live on Star Sports.
Making his ‘debut’ all the more special is sharing the microphone with his son Rohan, who has been a regular behind the microphone this domestic season. The senior Gavaskar’s arrival at the commentator’s box was eagerly awaited. And when he did arrive at the lunch break, the atmosphere in the box changed for a bit. All the fun that was going on around with the other commentators stopped and it became serious, not out of fear of the Little Master, but out of respect.
Once Gavaskar Sr entered the box, it was warm exchange of pleasantries and New Year greetings with the former India captain greeting each by their name. It was back to banter and all fun when one of his colleagues told him, “Your son Rohan has scored more runs than you in Kolkata.”
Gavaskar was thankful that comment did not come from his son on air. Asked about doing commentary with son, the Little Master told the DNA, “For a change, I could actually pull someone’s legs and get away with it. Generally, when I am doing it at the international level, my fellow commentator can come back at me. Over here, that was the big plus as I could pull his leg and get away.”
About the stint when the two Gavaskars were on air, the senior said: “I started by saying that he has not been a part of the Ranji Trophy winning team but thankfully he didn’t come back at me saying he has scored more runs at Eden Gardens than I have!”
Gavaskar said that though he has not heard his son commentate due to his frequent travelling, “the feedback that I get has been pretty good. That is good to hear.”
Asked about giving tips to his son on commentary, Gavaskar said: “That would be off the air because you don’t want to disturb someone when he is on air. But off the air, sometimes we do talk about little things like what I have learnt from Richie Benaud and by observing other commentators.”
For Rohan, it’s all fun commentating with his father. Rohan said, “It was a lot of fun sharing the mike with him. It was great. It was not just a conversation (between father and son) on air. You are commentating on the game and it is completely different from the other chats we have at home because of the circumstances and the situation.”
Asked what he learnt from his father on commentating, Rohan, 37, said, “I have not learnt anything from him in the sense that you have to be your own person. I try and follow stuff from him like being honest and forthright in my views and have an opinion to voice it. You do commentary your own way and not copy it.”
Rohan added that television commentary “has been a lot of fun and keeps you connected with the game, it has been great so far”.
(G Krishnan qualified as an umpire from Tamil Nadu Cricket Association in 1997 before making sports journalism as a career. His other interests include wildlife and reading. Krishnan is Principal Correspondent of DNA, where the article first appeared)
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