Legendary Indian cricketer Sunil Gavaskar was a pre-eminent player during his era. He was so good during his playing days that 1970s is often considered as ‘the decade of Gavaskar’. During that decade, the ‘Little Master’ scored 5467 runs in 63 Tests at a phenomenal average of 55.91 with 21 hundreds and 26 half-centuries.
Even as a skipper, Gavaskar was quite impressive. Under his leadership, India defeated the mighty West Indies in the 1978-79 home series. West Indies had toured for a six-Test series, which India won 1-0 with a three-wicket victory in Chennai. Gavaskar had scored 732 runs.
However, despite such a great series, the Mumbaikar was dropped as a captain. BCCI replaced him with S Venkataraghavan. But what was the exact cause behind that decision? Well, Gavaskar has now himself revealed the reason.
Gavaskar said that he doesn’t know the real reason, but it might have happened because he was pretty open about the offer to join the Kerry Packer World Series Cricket – a professional cricket competition staged between 1977 and 1979 and organized by the Australian media tycoon.
“I was replaced as captain despite India winning the series against the West Indies (1978-79) and in which I got more than 700 runs. I still don’t know the reason for it, but can only surmise that it was because I had been pretty open about the offer to join Kerry Packer’s World Series Cricket. However, I signed the BCCI contract before the selection, thereby proving where my loyalties lay,” Gavaskar wrote in his Mid-Day column.
Gavaskar also spoke about how he had to convince selectors to stick with Bishan Singh Bedi, who was expected to be dropped from the team because of his unsuccessful series in Pakistan.
“The committee decided to drop Mr BS Bedi after three Test matches. In fact, they wanted to drop him straightaway after I replaced him as skipper after the series loss in Pakistan. I argued that he was still the best left-arm spinner in the country and so they reluctantly agreed to pick him for the first Test,” the 70-year-old added.
“Kapil Dev had just come on the scene then and along with Karsan Ghavri had formed a potent new-ball pair for India. The spinners, therefore, didn’t get the kind of spells they were used to. The pitches were absolute beauties to bat on with little help for the spinners. The selectors wanted to leave out Mr BS Bedi for the second and third Test too, but I managed to convince them not to,” Gavaskar added further.