Before Gavaskar came on the scene, the chief image of Indian cricketers was that of 'dull dogs' who took an inordinately long time to get their runs. They lacked the will to fight and were technically and temperamentally ill equipped.
The history of Indian cricket was punctuated - all too frequently - by shameful reverses.
On one infamous occasion at Leeds in 1952, India lost their first four wickets without a run on the board.
In the same series, at Old Trafford, India became the first team in Test cricket to be bowled out twice in one day -and for totals of 58 and 82.
In the next Test at the Oval, India lost the first five wickets for six runs.
A few years later, India lost a Test to West Indies at Calcutta by an innings and 336 runs - the second biggest margin of defeat in Test cricket.
In the period 1967-68, India lost seven Tests on the trot.
In 1959 and 1962, India lost all five Tests of the rubber to England and West Indies.
Image: In this 1977 photograph Gavaskar is seen sharing a beer with Rodney Marsh in the Australian dressing room.