‘I’ll Strangle Him If…’ When Sunil Gavaskar Set A Target of 15000 Test Runs For Sachin Tendulkar

He made his international debut at 16 as a kid prodigy. At age 39, he retired as the ‘God of Cricket’. Tendulkar’s rare talent backed with relentless hard work, respect for the game and humility made him only the first person to get the Bharat Ratna – the highest civilian award of India.

On his debut, a bunch of Pakistan bowlers tried scaring him away with vicious bouncers, some sledged him but the grit of the youngster silenced them soon. Regardless, very few would have thought what Tendulkar would go on to achieve.

Sunil Gavaskar, arguably India’s first batting superstar and Tendulkar’s role model, was one person who had that farsightedness to predict what the next batting sensation from Mumbai could do. In one of the interviews in the early 90s, Gavaskar predicted 15000 Test runs and 40 hundreds in the longest format for the right-hander.

On a lighter note, Gavaskar, who himself scored 10122 runs and 34 hundreds in Test cricket, even ‘threatened’ to strangle Tendulkar if he failed to achieve the target.

“And I for one know that if at the end of his career, he does not get a minimum of 15000 runs and 40 Test centuries, I shall personally go and strangle him. Twenty years down my hands will not have strength, so he might still survive but I will deputise somebody to do that for me.

“He has got that much of challenge. Sachin, I hope you would not let me down and not let Indian cricket down,” Gavaskar can be heard saying in an old interview posted by a Twitter user named Subu Sastry.

“I will be trying my best,” a young Tendulkar replies in his shrieking voice.

Tendulkar did not disappoint Gavaskar. He went on to play a record 200 Test matches to score 15921 runs at an average of 53.78. He finished with 51 hundreds in the format. Not only this, the 49-year-old scored 18426 runs in 463 ODIs at an average of 44.83. He slammed 49 hundreds in the ODI format.

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