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My First Steps – Sunil Gavaskar

Here is an account of the life and career of Cricketer Sunil Gavaskar. He discusses his love for cricket, his inspiration, his team members, his arguing habit while playing and much more. Read the summary, question and answers.

A Birthmark

When Sunil Gavaskar was born in a hospital, nurses misplaced the newborn with another mother – wife of a fisherman – in the same ward. In his place, the nurses laid the fisherman’s baby. It would have led to a big misfortune but a relative of the Gavaskar family – Mr. Narayan Masurekar – found out the mistake because had noticed a tiny hole on Gavaskar’s left ear lobe. Gavaskar wonders what could have become of the fate of the two babies if the real one weren’t discovered! Would the fisherman have brought him up as a cricketer? What would his own parents have done with the fisherman’s baby?

Questions & Answers

  1. When was Sunil Gavaskar born?
    Sunil Gavwaskar was born on 10th July, 1949.
  2. What did Gavaskar’s uncle Mr. Narayan Masurekar notice when he came to see the baby in hospital?
    When Narayan Masurekar, Gavaskar’s uncle, came to see the baby in hospital, he noticed a little hole near the top of the baby’s left ear lobe.
  3. What was the horrible thing that happened the next day?
    The horrible thing that happened the next day was that baby Gavaskar, after a bath, was misplaced by the nurses. In his place, a fisher-woman’s baby was left while Gavaskar was placed in the crib of the fisher-woman’s baby. It was really horrible.
  4. Where was the missing child found?
    The missing Gavaskar was later found sleeping peacefully in the crib of a fisher-woman’s baby.
  5. If Nan-kaka had not noticed the hole on his ear where would he be living?
    If Nan Kaka had not earlier spotted the little hole on Gavaskar’s ear as an identity mark, Gavaskar would have been brought up by the fisher-woman’s family and the chances of his becoming a cricketer would have been nearly impossible.
  6. Why does Gavaskar title this account “My First Steps?”
    Gavaskar describes an incident that would have ruined him forever. In the hospital where he was born, nurses mistakenly laid him with the wife of a fisherman after bathing the babies. If this was not noticed, Gavaskar would not have been brought up by his real parents and his destiny would have been different.
  7. That was more than carelessness. What happened after that? Who noticed the irregularity?
    This irregularity was noticed by Mr. Narayan Masurekar, a relative of the family. He did this smart discovery because he had spotted an identity mark – a hole in the baby’s left ear-lobe.
  8. Why does Gavaskar call Mr. Narayan Masurekar ‘eagle-eyed’ relative??
    Gavaskar calls Mr. Narayan Masurekar’s ‘eagle-eyed’ relative because Masurekar’s observation was so strong that he could spot a tiny hole on the top of Gavaskar’s left ear lobe on the day he was born and later he was able to figure out the fatal mistake committed by the nurses.
  9. Mr. Narayan Masurekar’s observation played a vital role in determining Gavaskar’s destiny. Explain.
    If Narayan Masurekar had not observed the hole on Gavaskar’s ear-lobe, he would have been brought up by the family of a fisherman and there were few chances he would have come to the scene of cricket and fame.
  10. What does Gavaskar mean by Providence?
    By the term Providence, Gavaskar refers to the grace of God that interfered through Mr. Narayan Masurekar to redeem the one-day-old Gavaskar’s identity.




Mother, the First Coach

Gavaskar remembers another incident. His mother used to bowl to him in the small gallery of their house where they played their ‘daily match’ with a tennis ball. Since the area was small his mother would kneel to bowl, or rather lob the ball to him. Once he hit one straight back and caught her bang on the nose, which started bleeding.

Although it was a tennis ball, the distance between the two of us was very short, which accounts for the force with which the ball hit her. Gavaskar was frightened but his mother shrugged the pain off, washed her face and as the bleeding stopped, they continued the game. Gavaskar’s father was a good club cricketer in his days and a keen student of the game.

Questions & Answers

  1. How did little Gavaskar break his mother’s nose while playing cricket?
    Gavaskar’s mother used to bowl to him in the small gallery of their house where they played their ‘daily match’ with a tennis ball. Since the area was small his mother would kneel to bowl, or rather lob the ball to him. I hit one straight back and caught her bang on the nose, which started bleeding.
  2. Why was the injury serious?
    Although it was a tennis ball, the distance between the two of us was very short, which accounts for the force with which the ball hit her.
  3. How did Gavaskar’s mother react to the injury?
    Although the injury was deep and pain very high, Gavaskar’s mother shrugged it off. She washed her face and as the bleeding stopped, continued the game.
  4. What do you mean by ‘cricket being in Gavaskar’s blood?’
    Gavaskar’s father was a good club cricketer in his days and a keen student of the game. The family had interesting discussions on various aspects of the game. Gavaskar found his father’s advice invaluable in the development of his career. Besides, Gavasalr mother was fond of cricket and was a fellow-player in his early childhood.
Uncle Madhav Mantri

Gavaskar’s uncle, Madhav Mantri, played for India in four ‘official’ tests, though not very successfully. Whenever he went to his uncle’s house his favorite pastime used to be to take out his uncle’s pullovers and caress them with a sense of longing. His uncle once told me that one has to sweat and earn the India ‘colours’ and work hard to earn the distinction. It was a lesson that Gavaskar learnt from his uncle.

Questions & Answers




  1. Who was Madhav Mantri?
    Madhav Mantri was Gavaskar’s uncle. By this time, Madhav Mantri was a well-known cricketer. He had played for India in four ‘official’ tests, though not very successfully.
  2. What was little Gavaskar’s favorite pastime on a visit to Madhav Mantri’s house?
    Whenever Gavaskar went to his uncle’s house, his favorite pastime was to take out Mantri’s pullovers which he caressed with a sense of longing. He wanted to become a cricketer himself.
  3. Why did Madhav Mantri refuse Gavaskar’s plea to give him one of his many India test pullovers?
    Gavaskar was so attracted by the India test pullovers that once he even dared to ask his uncle if he could take one, since he had so many. His uncle told him that one has to sweat and earn the India ‘colours.’ He advised him to work hard to earn the distinction. Gavaskar took his uncle’s words too close to his heart and decided to win rather than beg.
  4. How did Madhav Mantri’s refusal of the pullover help Gavaskar later in his life?
    Looking back, Gavaskar is now glad that his uncle had not given him his pullovers. This taught him that there is no short-cut to success.
Always a Batsman



  1. What was Gavaskar’s early obsession in cricket?
    Right from the beginning, Gavaskar wanted to become a batsman and hated losing his wicket. This became such an obsession with him that, if the rest of the boys ever got him out, he would fight and eventually walk home with the bat and the ball.
  2. What happened when Gavaskar got out of the game?
    If Gavaskar got out by the other players, he would first argue with them and eventually walk out with his bat. As he was the only owner of the bat, his walking out would bring the game to an abrupt end. The boys would then curse and call him names. However, the tension did not last long and the boys would become friendly again.
  3. Who made up Gavaskar’s team mates in his childhood?
    The Ambaye brothers, and the Mandrekar brothers and several others made up the first team.
  4. What was decided and agreed upon by all the players in order to check Gavaskar’s arguing habit?
    Whenever Gavaskar batted, the other players decided beforehand that they would appeal at a particular ball and whether Gavaskar was out or not, he had to go by the majority verdict! 
  5. How did the players award the winner teams?
    The players awarded the winner with trophies. These trophies were small white-metal cups for which the players contributed and bought for as little as Rs. 1.50.

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