Mumbai, May 19 (IANS) With six former India cricket captains gracing the occasion, ‘Guts Amidst Bloodbath’, a semi-autobiographical book by former Indian Test cricketer, Anshuman Gaekwad was released at the Cricket Club of India (CCI) here on Friday.
India’s pride Sachin Tendulkar, Gundapa Vishwanath, Sunil Gavaskar, Dilip Vengsarkar, Ravi Shastri and Kapil Dev all recalled choicest anecdotes voicing their unstinted praise for Gaekwad.
BCCI President Roger Binny, Yajurvindra Singh, Karsan Ghavri, Zaheer Khan, Abey Kuruvilla, and Nayan Mongia also showed up to mark the occasion. Publisher and Editor Sachin Bajaj, founder of Global Cricket School and Aditya Bhushan who penned the book, also graced the dais.
Addressing the gathering on the occasion, batting legend Sunil Gavaskar commended his former opening partner for his bravery and spoke about accompanying him to the hospital after he was hit by a bouncer during the West Indies tour in 1976.
Sachin Tendulkar testified to Anshuman Gaekwad’s taste for fiery food, which is on par with his ability to deal with the fiery pace of the West Indies. “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.
Anshuman Gaekwad’s 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 Gaekwad 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 Gavaskar yielded 1722 runs in 49 innings which makes them the fourth all-time best opening pair for India in terms of runs scored.
It was also a great achievement for someone who had started his Ranji Trophy career as a right-arm bowler and then went on to become a respected batsman in Tests.
Gaekwad’s Test career began in 1974 and went on to be a long association of the game, having coached the Indian Test team to a sparkling run of success during 1997-1999. His tenure 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 archrivals 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, Anshuman Gaekwad spoke about his devotion to 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 ardent cricket lovers, both in the country and abroad, the book is a must-read which speaks volumes of Anshuman Gaekwad’s passion and love for the game.