Team India head coach Ravi Shastri on Wednesday unveiled a portrait of batting maestro Sunil Gavaskar at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) where India and Australia will play the third match of the ongoing Test series. Shastri showered huge praise on Gavaskar under who he made his international debut for the Indian team.

Shastri, who shared a great camaraderie with Gavaskar, called him the best opening batsman he has ever seen.

“Easily the best opening batsman I have ever seen,” said Shastri in a video tweeted by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) after he unveiled the portrait.

Shastri further said the 13 Test centuries against West Indies is itself a tribute to the way Gavaskar played the game of cricket.

“I had the privilege of playing under him and watch the master technician at work. Nothing fazed him, 13 Test hundreds against the West Indies itself is a tribute to the way he played the game.”

https://twitter.com/BCCI/status/1346796778973143041

Gavaskar was the first batsman to reach 10,000 runs in Test cricket and retired in 1987 with 34 hundreds, the most by any batsman at the time in the longest format of the game. His record of Test hundreds was broken only in 2005 by Sachin Tendulkar, who went on to score 51 centuries.

Shastri said it’s an honour for him to unveil Gavaskar’s portrait at SCG.

“In his prime, he was called ‘Mumbai Bradman’. In that era to reach 34 hundreds and 13 against the mighty West Indies was fabulous. Great tribute to you Sunny and an honour for me to unveil this portrait,” said Shastri.

Shastri also launched a book by the Bradman Museum called ‘India’s 71-Year Test: The Journey to Triumph in Australia’, at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

“Well, it was an honour. Really, because the history of Indian cricket and Australian cricket goes deep. Once you read this book, you know where I’m coming from. I was fascinated reading the first four or five chapters of this book. You get goosebumps when you read it.”

Shastri talked about the legends of both India and Australia who played against each other including Lala Amarnath and Donald Bradman.

“The early stages — Lala Amarnath’s coming here, Vinoo Mankad’s coming here and Donald Bradman playing against India. India playing against New South Wales and Hazare getting 200 so it’s fascinating. And then it goes on and on.

“Some great players in this book who have performed extremely well against Australia over the years and it’s a rich history. So, I think it’s a fantastic read. Kaushik has done a great job. These legends, they played for the love of the game and they set a fantastic platform,” he added.