Their on-field banter, sometimes playful and at other times bitter, was a part of Indo-Pak cricketing folklore but when it came to respect, Javed Miandad always had the highest regards for Sunil Gavaskar’s unflappable temperament and near-perfect technique against fastest bowlers of his time.
Miandad feels that current players should watch video clips of Gavaskar’s batting to know how he tackled some of the world’s most fearsome fast bowlers like Michael Holding, Andy Roberts, Malcolm Marshall, Imran Khan, Richard Hadlee, Dennis Lillee among others.
“It was amazing that given his short height, how well he played all over the world. His consistency and performances are remarkable,” Miandad said in a video released by the Pakistan Cricket Board. Miandad believes that Gavaskar’s immaculate defence and balance while standing at barely 5 feet 5 inches against hefty fast bowlers are lessons that can be learnt.
“Players nowadays can learn so much from watching his videos. See how he coped with the fast bowlers despite his short height. He played in an era where he faced the most fearsome pace bowlers in the West Indies, England, Australia, New Zealand and even against Pakistan and yet he was successful.” Miandad, who played 124 Tests and remained Pakistan’s top run-getter before Younis Khan overtook him, also talked about the camaraderie he shared with the former India skipper.
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“I enjoyed watching him bat. I remember I used to field close to him and keep chattering away to distract him as his level of concentration and focus was so high,” he said. “There were times when I managed to disturb his focus and when he got out he always used to leave cursing me and I enjoyed it.” Miandad said India was fortunate to have Gavaskar and his brother in law, Gundappa Vishwanath play in the same era.
“Vishwanath was another top player but Gavaskar was exceptional.” Miandad, who was coach of the national team thrice, said he always enjoyed watching Gavaskar bat and had some famous duels with him on the field.