If you mention the name Rohan Gavaskar, most people would instantly say, 'Sunil Gavaskar's son.' And why not, being the son of such a great player must be a matter of great pride. But having been a cricketer himself, that too, a very successful one at domestic level, he would probably be disappointed that there isn't greater recognition of his own exploits.
Rohan was a very elegant left-handed batsman who got into the Indian team after having great success at first-class and India A level in 2002-2003 period. Making his debut in 2004 during a tri-series in Australia, the junior Gavaskar couldn't last long in the ODI team and ended up playing only 11 ODIs and no Tests. There is only one international half-century to his credit.
But if you think that his career was devoid of any important contribution to Indian cricket, you would be wrong. In fact, in his debut match, he played a very crucial role in helping his team record a momentous victory over Australia.
The day was January 18, 2004 and India were taking on World Champions Australia at the Gabba in Brisbane. Having come close to defeating Australia in Australia in a Test series, an unimaginable proposition at that time, Indians were now looking to break long-standing barriers in the 50-over format.
The first game of the triangular ODI series, which also involved Zimbabwe, saw Australia winning after a spirited attempt by the Indians to chase down the target of 288. The next encounter between the two teams happened at Brisbane. India hadn't beaten the Aussies in their own backyard since December, 1991 in ODI format. They got to bat first and thanks to a brilliant hundred by VVS Laxman and a half-century from Sachin Tendulkar, reached a score of 303.
Australia went after the target as they were supposed to – full of confidence. Matthew Hayden scored a brilliant hundred and was having a 47-run partnership for the fourth wicket with Andrew Symonds which seemed to be taking the game away from Indians.
With other bowlers proving to be ineffective against the juggernaut of Hayden and Andrew Symonds, captain Sourav Ganguly turned to the debutante Rohan Gavaskar for a breakthrough. The left-hander had come out to bat towards the end of Indian innings and remained unbeaten on 2 off 3 balls.
Now, into the attack, Gavaskar – a left-arm spinner – while bowling his very first over of international cricket managed to get India the much-needed breakthrough, and that too, in a spectacular manner. He dived full-length to his right and held on to the leading-edge offered by the bulky Australian batter. This caught-and-bowled wicket proved to be crucial as Australia remained behind in the chase and eventually succumbed to the visitors. India got their first victory over Australia in Australia after more than a decade. Unfortunately, that remained the high point of junior Gavaskar's career and also the tri-series of India.