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XIV. The Miraculous Vibhuti

The Unbelievable Cure
How Vibhuti allowed Sunil Gavaskar to play in Australia.

Shammi Paranjape, a close relative of Sunil Gavaskar (sister-in-law), shares this amazing episode that happened miles away down under in Australia:

“One of the very first experiences Sunil Gavaskar had was during the Indian tour of Australia in 1977, when Bishen Singh Bedi was captain of the Indian cricket team.

During the three-day match against Victoria, Sunil slipped on the ground while fielding and tore a muscle in his thigh. It turned out to be a severe injury. In those days, the Indian team did not have a physiotherapist traveling with them, so Sunil's injury was shown to the home team's physiotherapist.

After he was examined, Sunil was informed that it was a severely torn muscle and he would be out of the game for the next six weeks. This was a big blow as the next Test match was starting within a week's time.

Sunil was in excruciating pain and unable to stand or put any pressure on the right leg. He phoned Pammi (his wife) in India and informed her about this development. Pammi immediately told him, ‘Apply Baba's Vibhuti’.

Sunil said that he had none with him. ‘I'll send you some right away. Apply it in the affected area, I'm sure it will work’, she replied.

The prospect of Sunil being fit enough to play for the next Test, which was four days away, seemed a total impossibility, so he was not picked for that particular match in the Test squad. In the meanwhile, Sushil Doshi, one of the Hindi commentators of All India Radio happened to be leaving for Australia.

Pammi arranged to send Baba's Vibhuti through him. Sushil Doshi arrived two days prior to the Test match in Brisbane and handed over the Vibhuti packet to Sunil. Sunil, who was still hobbling around with that painful leg immediately applied almost half of the Vibhuti packet on the affected area hoping for a miracle.”

For what happened next, let Sunil Gavaskar himself relate:

(From an article Sunil had written for the November 2000 issue of ‘Sanathana Sarathi’ – the Ashram Magazine)

“After I started applying Vibhuti, there was marked improvement and on the eve of the Test Match, I requested the team management not to rule me out but to have a fitness test on the morning of the Test Match. From barely being able to put weight on my leg, I was able to walk comfortably in just two days. But there was a stiff soreness that was worrying.

On the morning of the match, I applied Vibhuti to the leg and went to the ground. That was going to be my first attempt to try and run after a gap of eight days.

Even as I stepped on to the ground to give my fitness trial, I realised that the stiffness was almost gone. At the Queensland Cricket Ground in those days, you had to descend a few steps to the ground and it was these few steps which were painful previously, and I had to walk down gingerly. But on this day, I felt confident enough getting down these steps normally.

I took a light jog around the ground and with every stride I could feel the soreness going away. Though I did not do anything silly as a quick dash or sprint, I felt confident enough to play in the Test and so informed the management who accepted it and included me in the playing eleven. It was unbelievable.”

Incidentally, Sunil went on to score his eleventh Test century in that match!

Reference: “Blossoms in the Eternal Spring” by Mrs. Shammi Paranjape. Page: 16-17. Published by Rupa and Co., 2004.

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