|Rohan Gavaskar and ( Below) Sunil Gavaskar
London, Sept. 19: Sunil Gavaskar admitted today that 'I don't know who is more nervous, me or him' when his son, Rohan, came out to bat today against Pakistan with India precariously placed at 73 for five.
Gavaskar was comforted by fellow broadcasters in the BBC 4 commentary box who, for once, abandoned all pretence to neutrality and egged Rohan on.
The father said he had not seen his son play that much cricket. 'He has played most of his cricket for Bengal, while I live in Mumbai,' said Gavaskar. 'I have not seen that much of him.'
Gavaskar said he had seen his son play in the one-day series in Australia last year. He joked: 'I hope he does not live up to the nil part of my name.'
When Rohan played and missed a ball, his father commented: 'He has to try and build an innings.'
When Rohan got his first run, Jonathan Agnew asked Gavaskar, who was obviously experiencing death by a thousand cuts, whether he felt better.
'Definitely,' said a relieved Gavaskar.
Just on the stroke of noon, the commentary had to be discontinued for three minutes for the 'shipping forecast'. When BBC listeners were returned to the ground, Agnew immediately said: 'Sunil's boy is still there.'
Quizzed about Rohan being a left-handed batsman, his father said Rohan wrote with his right hand but, when batting, 'he is a natural left-hander. He has not been converted. Some are. For example, I know Lala Amarnath converted (his son) Surinder Amarnath to be left handed.'
When Rohan was involved in a possible run out mix-up with Rahul Dravid, Gavaskar assumed the worst. 'I think he is out,' he said, his voice bereft of emotion.
'Oh, Sunil,' responded Agnew sympathetically.
The replay suggested that Rohan might have grounded his bat on time. Agnew was as relieved as Dad. 'Let's tell him off for that later,' he told Gavaskar.
The third umpire did confirm that Rohan had dropped his bat just in time and Steve Bucknor ruled in Rohan's favour.
'At this stage, with India five down, India don't need to take any risks,' said Gavaskar, probably hoping telepathy would bear his message to his boy in the middle.
Agnew was replaced by Christopher Martin-Jenkins, whose son, Robin, plays county cricket and who must have understood what Gavaskar was going through as Rohan was tested by the raw pace of Shoaib Akhtar.
'CMJ', as he is called, tried to make Gavaskar feel better as it was soon clear a boy had been sent out to the middle to do a man's work.
'Rohan's a good looking chap,' quipped CMJ. 'Must take after his mother.'
'Thank God for that,' laughed Gavaskar.
CMJ wanted to know who was taller. 'He's, by two inches ' so he says,' ventured Dad.
When Henry Blofeld replaced CMJ, the former's opinion was that Rohan 'looks like Sourav Ganguly in his stance from a distance'.
At 92 for five, Gavaskar said: 'I hope India don't do anything silly at this stage. They don't have any batting left after this.'
Blofeld then informed listeners: 'His father has fled the commentary box.'
Then he added that Rohan could do better. 'He must give the strike to Rahul Dravid ' he's not very adept at that.'
Mike Selvey, who joined Blofeld, added: 'He's a fast runner but he's not as good a player as his old man.'
When Rohan was out after scoring 13 singles, Blofeld sighed with relief: 'Good job, Sunil's not here.'