Rohan Gavaskar is someone who always shows a lot of passion, devotion, dedication and determination towards the most popular sport of our country “cricket”. Even today when he is talking about the sport, one can see the spark in his eyes.
Rohan is simple, down to earth and connects with people. Moreover, he works hard in silence and allows success to make all the noise. Just like any other sports personality he too climbed up the ladder and today he is a well-known cricket commentator. CricFit.com author Binaisha M. Surti met Rohan in Mumbai and they had a great conversation, discussing cricket and commentary.
What was your childhood like and was cricket always the game you wished to play since your formative years?
Rohan: Well I also used to play a lot of football as a kid. So football and cricket, these 2 were the sports that I really enjoyed and still do enjoy them a lot. Since cricket was a sport which my father played… I used to travel a lot with him so cricket and cricketers were a big influence in my life. I started playing cricket just like any other kid. It is a natural progression as you move from one level to another and it was just the same for me too. I started playing cricket with my building friends, then I represented my school and college further went onto represent Mumbai at the under 15, 16 and 19 levels and then played first-class cricket from there on.
What role did your father play in making you that successful cricketer?
Rohan: It is all in the genes. If I did not have his genes then probably I would not have played cricket. He was always there whenever I needed him for guidance…like for instance whenever I felt that I was doing something wrong, I would go to him and he would help me out. I guess that there is no one who would have better knowledge than him when it comes to batting. It was great to have someone like him at home whose brains you could pick whenever you needed to iron your flaws out. It was great that dad was around and I could speak to him.
Did at any point of time the “Gavaskar” surname add any pressure on you to perform?
Rohan: No I don’t think so because I realized early on, that there can’t be another Sunil Gavaskar. I was just trying to be the best that I could be…the best that Rohan Gavaskar could be and have a successful career in that regard.
Share with us the fond memories you have of playing for Bengal?
Rohan: Yes absolutely. I keep telling everyone that Bengal has been my cricketing hometown and I am grateful to the Cricket Association of Bengal for giving me the opportunity to represent Bengal because it was a huge honour to represent such a marvellous state. Talking about memories… we reached the finals of the Ranji Trophy on 2 consecutive years, we also reached the semi-finals. We did well as a team. There were many memories off the field too where you develop a bond with your teammates, having represented Bengal for 15 years, the bond and friendships that you make along the way is special. That is what I cherish the most.
Now shifting to the commentary, how do you prepare yourself before going into the commentary box or you prefer it being more natural and spontaneous?
Rohan: I think it is a bit of both because you have to be as natural and spontaneous as you can but along with that you have to do your homework on the cricketers who will be playing in the match, try and read up on some statistics, you have to see who is in form or not in form…as that helps. We also have a team of support staff which really help us out. We have a statistician, scorer, producer and director. They are always giving us inputs as to what has happened, what has not happened and that is a big help.
Take us behind the scenes and share with us what goes on in the commentary box while the game is going on?
Rohan: Well there is a lot which goes on behind the scenes. There is a statistician who sits next to the commentator and tells him what the stats are, what a certain batsman has scored over the past 5 innings, what are his strong points, what is the batsman’s highest score. Then we have a producer who is telling us what is coming up so we can start preparing for it, he would tell us that there is going to be a package for the first 10 overs of the innings. Then the director is giving cues as to where he is going to pan the camera so that we can start working on those angles. There are many things that go on in the commentary box as there is a whole crew that work very hard and do a magnificent job to bring all the pictures to the viewers.
How was it sharing the commentary box with your father Sunil Gavaskar? Did he give you tips on how to commentate?
Rohan: Commentary is basically trying to have a conversation and dialogue with your co-commentator and hopefully the viewers enjoy it, so it was great commentating with dad. I have an excellent rapport with him and that is why I can talk to him about anything. It is a natural extension of how we are at home.
How is the atmosphere typically like in a commentary box?
Rohan: It is excellent, the commentators over here get along very well. It is a great sense of camaraderie, we enjoy each other’s company not just in the commentary box but we tend to hang out on tours after the days play as well, which is excellent. That team spirit is really great. The atmosphere in the commentary box is very lively and jovial.
Besides cricket, you are also passionate about football and more importantly, it was your dream to own a football club. Talk about your association with Pune FC and how has the club progressed till date?
Rohan: I am part owner of Pune FC. My friend and I started it in 2007 and further, we are very proud of what Pune FC has achieved. It is a passion project and a labour of love. We did well in the I-league. When we participate in the I-league we are always on the top half of the table. We have produced some excellent players. Our Academy is doing really well at the under 19 level and we are hoping to develop young footballers, which we hope will benefit the country.
Are there any opportunities for girls as well?
Rohan: Yes Pune FC has a girls’ team as well so we are hoping that more and more girls get into the sport and enjoy it.
Rohan Gavaskar is all geared up to play the exciting rapid fire round
What do loved ones call you: Rohan
Define Rohan Gavaskar in 4 words: Sensitive, simple, funny and loving
Favourite past time: Watching football
Favourite cricket commentator: Sunil Gavaskar
The father-son pair of Rohan Gavaskar and Sunil Gavaskar is: Great
The most memorable game that you commentated in: Well I commentated in the T20 World Cup final in Bangladesh so that was a big occasion and for the occasion, I would say that it was a very memorable game
Favourite footballer: Cristiano Ronaldo
Favourite football team: Manchester United
Favourite holiday destination: London
Favourite all-time cricketer besides your father: Sachin Tendulkar
Message to your fans: Don’t drink and drive, be safe and enjoy every day. Life is short be happy
Message to young aspiring cricketers: Work hard…dreams come true!