File photo of Sunil Gavaskar (Getty Images)
NEW DELHI: Former and current cricketers have turned to social media as they have been kept away from live action due to the coronavirus pandemic around the world. One of the many topics that they talk about are memories from their early days of playing the sport and the legendary Sunil Gavaskar said that he once batted wearing Ajit Wadekar‘s pads while playing for Mumbai in the Ranji Trophy.
Gavaskar said that he had played inter-university cricket tournaments in Sri Lanka and that a triple hundred he scored in one of those matches helped him get his maiden call-up to the Indian team. However, he found that he had lost his place in the Mumbai squad once he got back.
“I had missed one Ranji game because I was in Sri Lanka and somebody else had got runs, so there was no place for me,” said Gavaskar in a video chat for a mobile application.
“So on the morning of this match, where I was the 12th man, our captain Ajit Wadekar got injured during fielding practice. This happened before the toss, so I was picked to play in his place.
“These days everyone carries these big kit bags but back then we had a little bag in which we put our shoes and socks…so I hadn’t carried my pads or gloves (to the ground). Now what to do!
“So I called my mother up and asked her to please bring my pads. At that stage we didn’t know if we were batting (or fielding first) and it later turned out that we were batting first. So then I used Ajit Wadekar’s pads.”
Gavaskar said that it was not the most comfortable option because Wadekar was a left-handed batsman. “So the portion of the pad which protects your front calf wasn’t quite there but somehow I managed to get a hundred in that game.”
In an almost similar instance, fast bowler Ishant Sharma had recalled how he had to borrow Zaheer Khan’s shoes during his debut ODI series in Ireland.
“Everyone was at the practice, I was just standing there. And then Rahul Dravid came up to me and asked ‘Ishant why are you not bowling?’ I nervously muttered something and he said ‘what’,” Ishant said in a BCCI video.
“So I said ‘Rahul bhai, mera bag hi nahi aaya hai (my luggage has not arrived)’. He said ‘what does that mean?’ I said ‘I put (my bags) on the flight, but I have not received them’. Dravid asked me that how will I play the match tomorrow. I was shocked again,” Ishant further said. “I (then) borrowed shoes from Zaheer Khan and played my first ODI.”