Monday, 31 December 2012

Non-Fiction Reads: Sunny Days by Sunil Gavaskar


We think this to be an apt year-end post, bookworms, for December saw two developments in the cricketing world.

Sachin Tendulkar announced his retirement from the game format he had made his own - One-day internationals. Meanwhile, former England captain and TV commentator, the legendary Tony Greig passed away on December 29, 2012. He was 66. Now on to the book. Let me start with an excerpt, a scene that tells of simpler times when cricket was a game, non-commercial, unhurried and joyous. England are playing India away from home in the 1972-1973 season. Over to Sunil Gavaskar: 

During my innings there was a funny incident when I survived a leg-before appeal off Arnold.Greig walking past me at the end of the over remarked, "It was close, wasn't it?" I replied, "Yeah, sure. But the umpire is my uncle!" Greig then asked what his name was. I said, "Gothoskar, but he had changed it, or else he would never get to be a test umpire." Within minutes word had gone round and I was asked with much consternation by quite a few people whether umpire Gothoskar was really my uncle. 

An autobiography at 27? 
Sunny Days is an autobiography that is unique in many ways. The book was published in 1976, Gavaskar was only 27 then, hardly five years since he had made his sensational test debut. As Gavaskar confesses in the preface - It is always hazardous for an active cricketer to venture into the realm of authorship,...

But as the words unfold it is clear - there is a story to be told. Sample this, Sunil Manohar Gavaskar was misplaced after birth at the hospital, and had it not been for an 'eagle-eyed' uncle, he would have grown up as a fisher woman's son.

From his childhood initiation into cricket, playing for St.Xavier's College, a winning season with the Bombay Ranji team, the book zooms to his landmark 1971 Caribbean debut as early as page 28. From then on, each chapter concerns accounts of almost every international and national match played by the writer until the end of the 1975-76 season. This is where the book becomes a cricket lover's and historian's delight. 

Nostalgia
Delve into carefree days of doubtful umpiring, whirlwind bowling, lack of protective gear, on field chatter, dressing room antics and cricketing greats. This is a cricketer's perspective, not his memoir. So we do not get to know how Gavaskar met his wife, the proceedings documented here are all of the cricketing field.

Gavaskar writes with flair, his style is breezy, much like the cricket commentator that he is now, outspoken, matter-of-fact and brimming with anecdotes in between.For those who love their Wisden and Sportstar, here is a slice of a cricketing world we may never see again. That is what this book is, 'autobiography' stands as an afterthought, a tag line.


(Article by Snehith Kumbla) 

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