|Player:||SM Gavaskar, DN Sardesai|
DateLine: 5th July 2007
The Chairman of the ICC Cricket Committee Sunil Gavaskar has paid tribute to one of the legends of Indian cricket, Dilip Sardesai, who passed away on Monday aged 66.
Gavaskar, who was a young player making his way in cricket when Sardesai was nearing the end of his career, remembers a man who made an enormous contribution to the game and also made his own transition to the Test arena as smooth as possible.
“Dilip helped bring about a renaissance in Indian cricket,” he said. “My first Test was in the West Indies in 1971 when Dilip was perhaps at his very best. He showed us how to play fast bowling and in doing so gave us the confidence we needed to beat the West Indies . One of his great strengths was that he was always very positive and he spread that through the team.”
In that 1970-71 tour of the West Indies, Sardesai scored a total of 642 runs at an average of 80.25, including a magnificent 212 in the first Test at Sabina Park.
“He was a great influence on me as a player and someone I always looked up to,” said Gavaskar, who also hails from Sardesai’s home city of Mumbai.
“He was a very popular member of the team and a bit of a prankster. He was great fun to have around the dressing room and he always lifted the spirits. I was lucky to have him there when I first broke into the Indian side in 1971.
“Two years ago, another of the greats, Eknath Solkar, passed away, and I think Indian cricket is much poorer for the loss of these two giants of our game. It is very sad and I want to pass my condolences to his family at this difficult time but they should know that Dilip will always be remembered as one of the important men of Indian cricket.”
In 30 Tests between 1961 and 1972, Dilip Sardesai scored 2,001 runs at an average of 39.23, including five hundreds with that innings of 212 in Jamaica as his highest effort.