Former cricketer Gaekwad was India’s national team coach for about two years – from 1997 to 1999 – and some of Tendulkar’s best performances, including two century ODI matches against Australia in Sharjah that were remembered as Desert Storm, came during his tenure.
I was very fortunate to spend time with him (Gekwad) when he was our coach. I probably had the best cricket years of my life when he was our coach. We discussed my hitting and the approach I had to take, Tendulkar said during the presentation of Gekwad’s Guts Amidst Bloodbath biography Friday.
Everyone has ups and downs in their career, but he was always there for them. Someone who was honest, very transparent and someone you could trust. Anything that could be discussed (with him) remained confidential. That’s an important quality for a coach. We really got to know each other well, Tendulkar said at Brabourne Stadium.
Former Indian bowler Zaheer Khan expressed gratitude to Gekwad for solving problems related to running out on pool.
He was coaching when I had my first problem with running out on the court. I couldn’t control the outfield during the follow-through, and Aunshu Bhai deftly handled it, Zaheer said.
In Chennai, we played a couple of qualifying games. If that problem (persisted), I wouldn’t have been picked. He would come to practice and subtly remind me in Marathi to stay off the field or I wouldn’t have been picked.
I’m amazed at how he found a way to let me know without putting anyone on notice or pressure on me. It was something that stayed with me. He was my first coach on the Indian team in Kenya when I made my debut, Zaheer recalled.
Former India coach Ravi Shastri said courage is another word to describe the 70-year-old Hekwad, who played 40 Tests in 1974-85.
We played a lot of home cricket together, he was as tough as anyone. He was tough, terrific at reading the game. His acumen was very good…with what he did in the institution. Courage is just another word for Aunshuman, he added.
Gaekwad revealed the question he was asked as a member of the Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC) about Shastri’s appointment as India coach a few years ago. dian team, one of the journalists called me. Is it true that theo BCCI paid each of you 5 rupees for choosing Ravi Shastri? – he said.
I said that was the answer. Perhaps the fact that I get all sorts of posts in different hats over so many years may be one of the reasons I don’t demand money. Getting the job done is an honor, and that’s the end of it, Gackwad recalled.
Giving an insight into his cricket career, Gaekwad said he started out as a spinner who played number 10 for Baroda, but within three years he became a top order hitter.
In 1969, I played for Baroda in the Ranji Trophy as an off-spinner. For three years I played for Baroda as an off-spinner and bat number 10. In 1972, there was a turnaround when I became a batter. I was promoted from the varsity team to No. 6, then to No. 4, then to No. 3… I keep telling young people: nothing is impossible. In three years I became a batsman and played for India as a batsman in 1974, he said.
In 1969, I was not yet on the scene, but five years later I was playing for India. Anything could happen. I thought it was a miracle. I was so afraid of fast bowling in high school, but once I started playing for India, I never missed a series against the West Indies. I missed a lot of other series that were easier.