Sunil Gavaskar Expresses Happiness After Receiving News That Leicester Ground Will Be Named After Him

Sunil Gavaskar is truly India’s global cricket ambassador. The batting legend, who has stadiums named after him in Kentucky in the US and Tanzania’s Zanzibar, has added yet another feather to his well-adorned cap as a cricket ground in England’s Leicester will have his name on Saturday.

It’s a 5-acre sports field and Sunil Gavaskar is the first Indian cricketer to have a ground named after him in England or anywhere in Europe. Sunil Gavaskar represented India in 125 Tests and 108 ODIs. He scored a massive 13,214 runs in his career which had 72 fifties and 35 tons.

Sunil Gavaskar (Credits: AFP)

Sunil Gavaskar Delighted And Honoured That Leicester Ground Will Be Named After Him

Sunil Gavaskar will travel to Leicester to unveil his name plaque on the ground, which belongs to Bharat Sports and Cricket Club. His giant image has already been painted on one entire wall of the pavilion.

Sunil Gavaskar (73), who is in London, said on Thursday, “I am delighted and honoured that ground in Leicester is being named after me. Leicester is a city with possibly the strongest supporters of the game, especially Indian cricket, and therefore it is a huge honour indeed.”

Sunil Gavaskar
Sunil Gavaskar is set to be honoured in England. Photo: BCCI

The initiative came from Keith Vaz, the UK’s longest-serving MP of Indian origin who has represented Leicester in the UK parliament for 32 years. Keith Vaz now heads a diaspora organization named Integration Foundation.

“We are thrilled and honoured that Gavaskar has agreed to have this pitch and ground named after him. He is a living legend and over the years, has delighted Indians and other lovers of cricket with his record-breaking performances.

“To us, he is not just the ‘Little Master’, he is a great master of the game. Nothing delights the Indian population of Leicester more than when an all-time great visits us. There is now a part of Britain that is forever Gavaskar,” Vaz said.

The development comes close on the heels of a stadium being built in the name of the former Indian skipper in Zanzibar. The Kentucky stadium was named after him in 2017.

Rash Patel from Bharat Sports and Cricket Club said, “We have been in existence for 68 years. We could not think of a better role model for our young players than Gavaskar. It is wonderful that he has agreed to our plans. It is so special for future generations of cricketers.”

Sunil Gavaskar is the first batsman to go past 10,000 runs in Test cricket and once held the record for most runs and most centuries in Tests. Sunil Gavaskar was the first-ever player in Test history to have reached the 10,000-run mark. He achieved the feat in the 1987 Ahmedabad Test against arch-rivals Pakistan. Sunil Gavaskar scored a 170-ball 63 in the match, which was later drawn.

Sunil Gavaskar Debuted On West Indies Tour In 1971 And Was Part Of The 1983 World Cup Winning Team

Sunil Gavaskar, who made his India debut on the historic tour of West Indies in 1971, played a key role in the series win and piled up 774 runs in four Tests of the five-match series at an average of 154.80. He continued his dream run in Test cricket in the years to come and finished his career with 10122 runs in 125 Tests.

He held the record for most tons (34) for 18 years. The record was broken by Sachin Tendulkar in 2005. He played India’s maiden ODI in 1974. Sunil Gavaskar was part of the Kapil Dev-led side which won the 1983 World Cup. Two years later, he captained the Men in Blue to a title win in the World Championship of cricket.
Kapil Dev lifting the 1983 World Cup | Reuters
Kapil Dev lifting the 1983 World Cup | Reuters

He was part of the Kapil Dev-led side which reached the semi-final of the 1987 World Cup. Sunil Gavaskar is now a full-time commentator and a veteran broadcaster. To date, he is India’s third highest run-scorer in Test cricket with Sachin Tendulkar (15,921) and Rahul Dravid (13,288) occupying the top two spots.

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