Former Indian captain and batting legend Sunil Gavaskar has taken a jibe at the Indian team management, exposing that there are ‘different rules for different players’ in the dressing room.
Team India captain Virat Kohli’s paternity leave has left several fans and experts incensed especially after his team’s humiliating defeat against Australia in the first Test at Adelaide, where the visitors were bundled out for just 36 runs in the second innings – their lowest score in the longest format.
Now, while giving the examples of veteran spinner Ravichandran Ashwin and left-arm pacer T Natarajan, Gavaskar has said that there are double standards in the Indian team when it comes to the treatment of players. In his column on Sportstar, Gavaskar revealed that Ashwin has suffered for far too long for speaking his mind at the team meetings.
“For far too long Ashwin has suffered not for his bowling ability of which only the churlish will have doubts, but for his forthrightness and speaking his mind at meetings where most others just nod even if they don’t agree,” Gavaskar wrote in his column for Sportstar.
The 1983 World Cup winner added: “Any other country would welcome a bowler who has more than 350 Test wickets and not to forget four-Test match centuries, too. However, if Ashwin doesn’t take heaps of wickets in one game, he is invariably sidelined for the next one. That does not happen to established batsmen though. Even if they fail in one game, they get another chance and another and another, but for Ashwin, the rules seem to be different.”
Gavaskar further detailed out how the BCCI granted paternity leave to Kohli but newcomer Natarajan was forced to stay in Australia as a ‘net bowler’ to be part of the Indian contingent after becoming a father during the 2020 IPL playoffs.
“Another player who will wonder about the rules but, of course, can’t make any noise about it as he is a newcomer. It is T Natarajan. The left-arm yorker specialist who made an impressive debut in the T20 and had Hardik Pandya gallantly offering to share the man of the T20 series prize with him had become a father for the first time even as the IPL playoffs were going on. He was taken to Australia directly from the UAE and then looking at his brilliant performances, he was asked to stay on for the Test series but not as a part of the team but as a net bowler. Imagine that,” wrote Gavaskar.
Concluding his column, Gavaskar wrote, “A match-winner, albeit in another format, being asked to be a net bowler. He will thus return home only after the series ends in the third week of January and get to see his daughter for the first time then. And there is the captain going back after the first Test for the birth of his first child. That’s Indian cricket. Different rules for different people. If you don’t believe me ask Ravi Ashwin and T. Natarajan”.
India and Australia will compete again on Saturday for the marquee Boxing Day Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG).