Anshu’s guts come to the ‘gore’
Mumbai, May 19: On a night, where six former Indian cricket captains graced the occasion, ‘Guts Amidst Bloodbath‘, a semi autobiographical essay by former Indian Test cricketer, Anshuman Gaekwad was released at the C K Nayudu Hall at CCI, with much plaudits and fanfare in a short and sweet engagement.
India’s pride Sachin Tendulkar, Gundapa Vishwanath, Sunil Gavaskar, Dilip Vengsarkar, Ravi Shastri and Kapil Dev all related choice anecdotes voicing their unstinted praise for Anshu. Roger Binny the present BCCI chief, Yajuvindra Singh, Karsan Ghavri, Zaheer Khan, Abet Kuruvilla, Nayan Mongia to name a few also showed up. Publisher and Editor Sachin Bajaj, founder of Global Cricket School and Aditya Bhushan who penned the book, also graced the dais.
Sunny commended Anshu for his bravery and spoke about accompanying him to hospital after he was hit by a bouncer during the West Indies tour in 1976. Sachin Tendulkar testified to Anshu’s taste for fiery food, which is on par with his ability to deal with the fiery pace of the Windies. Gutsy to say the least.
Another couple of words instantly come to mind, when envisioning his famous repartee against the West Indies’ pace battery swarming against him and the Indians. True Grit, that well-known moniker of a famous John Wayne movie, could easily be used when describing Gaekwad standing up to the might of the Windies Pacemen.
His magnificent innings of 82, before retiring hurt, is a testament to his bravery and courage, even as half of the Indian batsmen had to retire hurt in what was the Windies repartee to the infamous Bodyline series.
Of the total 40 Tests that Anshuman played, 22 were against Windies on immensely lively ticking pitches. In tandem with Sunil Gavaskar, he provided more than stability at the top of the order. His partnerships with Sunny yielded 1722 runs in 49 innings which makes them the fourth all-time best opening pair for India in terms of runs scored.
But wait, he started his Ranji career as a right-arm bowler and then went on to become a respected batsman in Tests.
His Test career began in 1974 and he has proved to be a long-time associate of the game, having coached the Indian Test team to a sparkling run of success from 1977 to 1979. These included Indian victories in seven One Day tournaments, a Test series victory against a strong Australian side at home in 1998 and a draw against arch-rivals Pakistan in the 1999 Test series. As a coach, he was known for his discipline, honesty and integrity.
On a day when praise came in from all quarters, Anshu spoke about his devotion for the game for 55 years. Besides being a national selector, he has also coached the Gujarat team and was a former secretary of the Baroda Cricket Association. He is currently the President of the Indian Cricketers Association (ICA).
For all fanatic cricket lovers, both in the country and abroad the book is a must read which speaks volumes of Anshu’s passion and love for the game.
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