Former Pakistan captain Ramiz Raja recalled the first time he met Sunil Gavaskar during the 1986-87 series. He reveals that the then captain Imran Khan used to lavish praise on Gavaskar’s batting techniques. Imran Khan even scolded Ramiz to focus on Gavaskar when he was batting and asked him to acquire his techniques.
Ramiz Raza represented Pakistan from 1984 to 1997. He belongs to the era when Sunil Gavaskar was the lynchpin for Team India. In his first tour of India in 1986-87, he got the opportunity to meet India’s successful Test opener Gavaskar.
Sunil Gavaskar and he was like a God in the early 80s: Ramiz Raja
Ahead of the series, Imran Khan had told Ramiz that Gavaskar was the best batsman in the world. Ramiz himself believed Imran’s word after he saw Gavaskar playing classic shots against fast bowlers.
“When I first came across Sunil Gavaskar and he was like a God in the early ‘80s. And if Imran told you that he is the best batsman or somebody was the best batsman in the world, you looked at him, and I was in awe of what I saw, you know, even though Sunil Gavaskar was on his way out. I am talking about 86-87 series,” Ramiz Raja told Sportskeeda in a Facebook Live interview.
“Whenever Imran bowled those banana in-swing deliveries on his pads, Sunil worked it away through the short leg, through where I was and the ball would run and hit the fence,” said Ramiz Raja.
Although Imran was beaten by Gavaskar, he didn’t get angry on the batsman rather he flaked Ramiz Raja to learn from the Indian opener. He revealed that Imran was in awe of Sunil Gavaskar’s batting.
“Instead of getting angry at Sunil Gavaskar, he would look at me because I was an opener as well and he would say, look how he is playing, and then it would be followed by a couple of swear words,” Raja remarked.
“So, I tell this story to Sunil and even now I say, you scored runs but I got the flak, not you…from Imran because he was in awe of Sunil as well,” added Raja.
Gavaskar scored 34 Test centuries for India during his career. He scored 10,122 runs in his career in 125 Tests.