Sunil Gavaskar, who delivered the inaugural Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi Memorial Lecture here on Wednesday, said the modern game could do with the sense of fun “Tiger brought to cricket”.
Gavaskar credited Pataudi with liberating Indian cricket, saying his adventurous style of play, his charisma, and his fondness for a practical joke changed how the game was played and perceived in the country.
“Indian cricket was more about maintaining the status quo rather than making things happen,” said Gavaskar.
“Caution was the watchword before Tiger came and changed the outlook completely. India was a team that used to get run over by nearly every other team.
“Tiger gave us that confidence to win. You could never take your eyes off him, he had that magnetism.”
Gavaskar then touched on Pataudi’s sense of humour. “He was a prankster,” said Gavaskar.
“It was something you didn’t expect from a man of royal lineage. That aspect of fun he brought into the game as well. We can do with more of that in the modern game.
“Cricket is in a very happy place … there are probably more millionaires playing now. It would be fantastic if we could have a little of that fun element.”
Wishing the Indian and Australian cricketers in the audience the best of luck, Gavaskar asked them to introduce a smile or two to what was sure to be a hard-fought series.
“Just like Tiger did, let there be a little of the fun aspect, a bit of a smile … when a batsman scores a 50 or a bowler takes a wicket.”
Addressing the state of the modern game, Gavaskar said,
“This is what Tiger said as well, we tinker too much with it. The success of football, golf is because the rules are very simple.
“It’s something the administrators need to look at.” He said Test cricket remained the pinnacle of the sport, and called for pitches with better balance “that allow the best to be tested against the best.”
The lecture, which is set to become an annual fixture, was streamed live on bcci.tv