36 days to World Cup: Gavaskar's slow crawl headlines India's inauspicious start in '75

What Yuvraj Singh took six balls to hit, Sunil Gavaskar scored after batting 60 overs. 

Published: 24th April 2019 09:43 PM  |   Last Updated: 24th April 2019 09:43 PM   |  A+A-

It was unclear why he was batting the way he did. | Twitter

Online Desk

"It was the most disgraceful and selfish performance I have ever seen."

Those were the words of India's manager GS Ramchand after Sunil Gavaskar's 36 not out off 174 balls.

Boring. Bizzare. Blasphemous.

Whatever words you may choose, it still doesn't come close to describing Gavaskar's slow crawl against England in the opening encounter of the inaugural edition of the World Cup.

36 days to go before World Cup 2019, here's a look at Gavaskar's infamous 36 not out off 174 balls.

The inaugural edition of the World Cup may have been hastily arranged as an afterthought, but it was a picture perfect setting for the tournament that was blessed with glorious sunshine.

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Even though the clamour for tickets for the inaugural match between England and India wasn't as much as it is now, Lord's was still packed. 

They were treated to some sensational batting by the hosts after they won the toss and elected to bat first. Dennis Amiss led the way with a 147-ball 137, a knock that included 18 boundaries.

Amiss was ably supported by Keith Fletcher's 68 and late cameos from Chris Old, who bludgeoned his way to a 30-ball 51, and captain Mike Denness's 31-ball 37.

All of that meant that England piled up what was the highest ODI score at the time, 334/4 in 60 overs.

While chasing the target was going to need a superhuman effort, Gavaskar seemed to be playing his own game. Even when it was clear that net run rate was a factor later in the tournament and India needed as many runs as possible, Gavaskar didn't seem to care.

To say that he was going at snail's pace would be an insult to the poor creature, which certainly shows more initiative when it comes to moving forward than Gavaskar did.

Even if Gavaskar's slow crawl made sense in order to see off the new ball, the fact that he never altered his pace made matters even worse. It was unclear why he was batting the way he did.

As he continued to block and treat run-scoring like a cardinal sin that he had to avoid at all cost, Indian supporters voiced their desperation.

The end was near and it seemed to be taking an eternity to get there. It was a knock that created plenty of controversy and drew the ire of not just the supporters but his teammates and the manager as well.

Eventually, India managed just 132/3 in their 60 overs and they lost by 202 runs as Gavaskar crawled to 36 not out off 174 balls with just one four.

His knock and his rationale behind getting in some practice as the target was beyond reach didn't sit too well with Ramchand.

"It was the most disgraceful and selfish performance I have ever seen… his excuse [to me] was, the wicket was too slow to play shots but that was a stupid thing to say after England had scored 334. The entire party is upset about it. Our national pride is too important to be thrown away like this."

44 years on from that fateful day in Lord's Gavaskar's slow crawl remains the slowest knock in ODI history (min 100 balls) and is one that will never be broken.

And despite the fact that he ended as one of India's finest batsmen, that knock remains a black mark on an otherwise stellar career. 

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