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Test cricket has made ODIs glamorous: Gavaskar

The world's first batsman to score 10,000 runs in test cricket, Gavaskar says victory for your team is best thing you can achieve.
IANS | By Qaiser Mohammad Ali, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON MAR 06, 2007 02:20 PM IST

Exactly 20 years after becoming the world's first batsman to score 10,000 runs in test cricket, Sunil Gavaskar on Tuesday said that test matches have made one-dayers more glamorous.

"I don't think test matches have been overtaken by one-day cricket. On the contrary, I feel one-day internationals have been made more attractive and glamorous by test cricket as they play far more shots," Gavaskar said on phone from Mumbai.

It was March 7, 1987, that the legendary opening batsman scored the 10,000th career run on the third day of the fourth test against Pakistan at the Sardar Patel Stadium in Motera, Ahmedabad.

As soon he cut Ijaz Faqih for two runs, he raised his bat in celebration with a big smile on his face. The crowd invaded the ground and play was held up for about 20 minutes.

Gavaskar, playing his 124th and penultimate test, went on to score 63, but the match ended in a draw. It was the first time in 110 years of test match history that a batsman had scored 10,000 runs.

Asked if he would have liked to win that match, Gavaskar pointed out that far less number of overs used to be bowled in his time, and that provided fewer opportunities for a result.

"Victory for your team is that best thing that you can achieve," said the cricketer-turned-columnist-turned-commentator.

"But you must remember that in those days only 77-80 overs used to bowled in five-and-half hours of play each day as compared to a minimum of 90 over per day now. It made a biggest difference (to achieving results)."

Slow over rates was one of the reasons that the first four tests of that series were drawn.

Imran Khan's Pakistan won the fifth and final match in Bangalore and with it the series 1-0. But the win did not come easily as Gavaskar, playing his final test, scored a top class and extremely defiant 96 to frustrate Pakistanis.

On Tuesday, when Gavaskar was told that the anniversary of an important milestone of his was coming up on Wednesday, Gavaskar, now 57, took a while to recall it.

"To be honest with you, I don't really think about the past," he said.

"I don't relate to (records of) those days, but I felt good on reaching 10,000 runs."

Asked if it has become for today's batsmen to pile up runs as the frequency of test matches has increased, Gavaskar said any batsman would score lots of runs if he plays more and more matches.

"If you play 180 tests, you will obviously score 10,000 runs," he said.

Four others - and all are present or former captains of their teams like Gavaskar -- have aggregated 10,000 test runs since the diminutive Indian scaled the peak first.

Allan Border of Australia took 136 matches to become the first to emulate Gavaskar while Steve Waugh, also of Australia, did it in 156 matches.

Only West Indian Brian Lara (111 Tests) and Sachin Tendulkar (122) took less number of matches than Gavaskar to reach the milestone.

But Gavaskar's achievement is incomparable due to two significant reasons: he never wore a helmet (though towards the end of his career he used a skull cap) even while facing the fearsome West Indies pace quartet, and that Indian batting largely depended on him in 1980s to succeed.

It was all, however, in the past.

"I don't think players remember these records now. Anyway, no one plays for records, so not many remember them," he said.

Gavaskar ended his career with 10,122 runs at an average of 51.12 in 214 innings of 125 tests. His 34 centuries stood as a world record before Tendulkar broke it and Lara equalled it recently.

In 108 one-day internationals, the right-handed batsman scored 3,092 runs at 35.13 with one century and 27 half-centuries.

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