National colours have to be earned, it’s something Sunil Gavaskar, the first batsman to reach 10,000 runs in Tests learnt early in his life with the sense instilled by his maternal uncle and former cricketer Madhav Mantri.
Joy Bhattacharya, the Kolkata Knight Riders director talked about an incident that typified the lesson learnt by Gavaskar as a young cricketer. He said, “Sunil Gavaskar was a commentator on the Indian tour of the West Indies in 2002. One of our younger cricketers had a fairly active night of passion and the lady involved demanded and got one of his India caps as a prize. A day later, she went to sign it from Sunny Gavaskar. He had one look at the cap and asked where she got it from. She refused to tell till he threatened to call the police and have her arrested. After he got the name, he stormed into the team bus, something he never does, and told the player in question exactly what he thought of the incident, and why he should be ashamed to ever wear an India cap again. Forget that poor man, in five minutes, the entire bus learned more about what playing for India meant than a thousand lectures.”
Since the name of that young player is still unknown, here is the squad of Indian team on tour of West Indies in 2002 :
Sourav Ganguly (c), Harbhajan Singh, Anil Kumble, Rahul Dravid, Zaheer Khan, VVS Laxman, Dinesh Mongia, Sachin Tendulkar, Javagal Srinath, Sanjay Bangar, SS Das, Deep Dasgupta, Wasim Jaffer, Ashish Nehra, Ajay Ratra, Sarandeep Singh, Tinu Yohannan.