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Last Updated: Sunday, 18 January, 2004, 13:04 GMT
Famous son steps out of shade
By Scott Heinrich

Rohan Gavaskar is not the first cricketer to follow in the footsteps of a famous father, but the pressure could hardly be more intense.

A FAMILY AFFAIR
Rohan and Sunil Gavaskar
If Rohan Gavaskar goes on to play Test cricket, he will become the 42nd player to emulate a father
The Headley family produced three generations of Test cricketers, grandfather (George), father (Ron) and son (Dean)
Lala Amarnath fathered two Test-playing sons (Mohinder and Surinder) as did Walter Hadlee (Sir Richard and Dayle)

When your old man happens to be Sunil Gavaskar, perhaps the greatest Indian cricketer of all-time, it would be frightfully easy to be unimpressive.

But Gavaskar made a splash on his belated international debut in the defeat of Australia in Brisbane on Sunday, taking a superb return catch to remove Andrew Symonds in his first over.

Naturally, he wants to carve out his own identity and not just be known as the son of Sunil.

"It's an honour to be his son, I get up every morning feeling very proud of him, he's been great," the 27-year-old left-handed all-rounder said.

"Hopefully now I've got the chance to create my own identity in international cricket.

"Everyone in India has realised I'm my own man and I've got my own cricketing identity, I've been playing first-class cricket for seven years.

"Probably the expectations were there when I first started out, but I think now it's a lot better."

Rohan Gavaskar
Gavaskar made an instant impact with the dismissal of Symonds

A regular in the India A team, Gavaskar, named after former West Indies batsman Rohan Kanhai, was a late addition to the one-day squad when Mohammad Kaif was ruled out with a thumb injury.

Gavaskar said he "couldn't stop smiling for three days" when told he would join the national squad.

He was equally happy to talk about his father, answering questions that have been fired at him since he made his first-class debut.

Sunil Gavaskar has the world record for the most Test centuries with 34 and is third behind Australians Allan Border and Steve Waugh on the list for Test runs with 10,122.

Gavaskar junior has scored 4,913 runs in 81 first-class matches.

Rohan Gavaskar (centre)
Gavaskar is thrilled to finally be in the bosom of the team

"He knows he can't be a Sunil Gavaskar and he knows that pressure is going to be on him, but he still leads a normal life and goes and enjoys himself," India captain Sourav Ganguly said.

"He's a bit more attacking than what I've seen his dad play, but he has to be because he's playing one-day cricket. He's a good player."

At 27, Gavaskar does not have time on his side if he is to make a name for himself let alone to the family name justice.

But his is a double-edged sword.

People will obviously see Sunil when they look at Rohan, and it is not just because of the similarities in appearance.

But they will also know that we are unlikely to see a player like Sunil ever again in the Indian team, nevermind the same family.


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