I have always believed that just as the history of mankind is divided into two eras - BC and AD - Indian cricket can be divided into two eras - BG and AG.
The 39 years prior to 1971 when Sunil Gavaskar burst upon the international scene so remarkably were generally marked by defeats, disasters and debacles and very few victorious moments.
The 38 years since his advent have generally been marked by glorious triumphs, rare individual feats and greater respect for Indian cricket and cricketers in the international arena.
Sure, there have been the low points, but these have been comparatively few.
Today, 22 years after his retirement, he is revered as the father figure of Indian cricket.
He was the pioneer, the man who proved that fast bowlers could be hit, and not menaces against whom one flinched.
He was a batsman who proved that it was possible to get 13 Test hundreds against the West Indies - including three double centuries.
He proved that it was possible to break the 10,000-run barrier in Test cricket and to overtake Don Bradman's record tallyof 29 hundreds.
Most importantly, he inspired his teammates not to wince against fast bowling or falter against the turning ball.
Thanks to him, many others learnt about the essential qualities of dedication and determination, technique and temperament, patience and perseverance, concentration and commitment. And soon the upward swing in India's fortunes was there for the cricketing world to watch and admire.
Image: Every inch the master - A supremely at ease Gavaskar caught in his impeccable stance