Fan of India's Sunil is taxi-driver father of West Indian Narine

Sunil NarineSunil Narine (REUTERS)

They say that Trinidad has always been a home away from home for Sunil Gavaskar. So much so that if Christina Narine hadn't put her foot down some 25 years ago, her husband Shahid would have ended up naming their daughter after the the former India captain.

If Christina had been indulgent, Arima, a quaint yet prosperous town in eastern Trinidad, would have counted a girl with an unusual name of `Sunili' among its residents.

When the Narines realised that their second-born would be a son, there was no discussion regarding his name. In fact, Shahid, a fanatical supporter of Gavaskar, had vowed to name his child after his hero when watching the batsman overcome the might of the West Indian pace attack at the Queens Park Oval decades ago.

Gavaskar's son Rohan, incidentally, is named after West Indian batting legend Rohan Kanhai.

"If left to me, I would have named him Sunil too," says Shahid, pointing at his four-year-old grandson Jeremy. While the former taxi driver's ultimate dream of meeting his idol never quite materialised, he insists on having experienced a sense of closure last year when his son Sunil achieved what he couldn't.

"I still get goosebumps when I recall Gavaskar asking Sunil about his name and when he found out that my son was actually named after him, on live television. I had twice chickened out from sharing a greeting with Gavaskar during his playing days. This though, was out of this world," adds Shahid.

That meeting between the namesakes had occurred during the 2012 IPL, when Narine picked up the man-of-the-tournament award while playing an integral role in Kolkata Knight Riders' title triumph. His exploits turned the Narines into the most popular family in the whole of Arima.

Despite the IPL riches, the Narines still live in the same two-room house that Shahid bought a dozen years ago after years of hardship. For close to three decades, he had gone around doing odd-jobs, from working in restaurants to driving a taxi - a rickety sedan he still uses. Once he saw his son's talent, he put everything into helping Sunil fulfill his destiny.

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