He is original batting don of Indian cricket: Pakistan greats wish Gavaskar on birthday

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Sunil Gavaskar

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Karachi: Wishes poured in from across the border for the legendary Sunil Gavaskar as he turned 75 on Wednesday with Pakistan's cricketing stalwarts calling him the "original batting don" of Indian cricket.

Gavaskar is considered one of the greatest batters to have played the game and his old rivals on the cricket field including Pakistani batting icons, Javed Miandad, Zaheer Abbas, Mushtaq Muhammad, Sadiq Muhammad, Shoaib Muhammad, Mohsin Khan and Iqbal Qasim made it a point to wish him on his birthday.

"Now that you have completed 75 pray, you carry on your magnificent innings in life," Zaheer Abbas told PTI.

Zaheer said he was happy to see Gavaskar still active on the cricket field, if not as a batter but as a top commentator.

"Like his batting, his insight into the game is invaluable. He was the original batting don of Indian cricket. I learnt a lot from just watching him bat up close,” he said.

Zaheer said that if Indian cricket produced batting stars such as Sachin Tendulkar and Virat Kohli over the years it was primarily because they had a role model like Gavaskar to look up to.

Miandad, who enjoyed many a duel with Gavaskar on the field, said not only was the Indian a great batsman but also a kind human being.

"I remember in 1992 during the World Cup his words of encouragement for the Pakistan team boosted us.” Miandad said he has always been a fan of Gavaskar’s batting technique.

"His was the most valuable wicket for us whenever we played against each other. His was a prized wicket. I wish him all the best on his birthday." Former captain Mushtaq Muhammad, who led Pakistan in that iconic 1977 series in Pakistan when Gavaskar scored tons of runs in the test matches, recalled how his focus would be on finding a weak spot in Gavaskar’s batting.

"We all belong to the same era and it is pleasing to know Gavaskar is celebrating his 75th birthday. Wish him the best,” he said on the telephone.

"Gavaskar and Bishen Singh Bedi were the backbone of Indian cricket in the 70s," added Mushtaq.

Mushtaq’s nephew and the son of the Pakistani little master, Hanif Muhammad, Shoaib Muhammad also wished Gavaskar on his birthday.

Shoaib narrated how his father always used to tell him to study the batting technique of Gavaskar and considered him as one of the best of his era.

"Gavaskar sahab had a lot of respect and regard for my father and I admired that,” he added.

Mohsin Khan recalled Gavaskar’s friendly banter with the Pakistani players and said when the Indian batted his concentration and focus was awesome.

"Whether we played against him in Karachi or in Mumbai or in Sharjah when he batted he was like a wall. He played a big role in the evolution of cricket in Sharjah. Wish him the best,” he said. PTI Cor ATK ATK

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