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Saturday, May 05, 2007

What is Sunny Gavaskar upto recently?

Mr.Sunil Manohar Gavaskar. He has been one of the biggest cricketing idols of Indian cricket for a long time, probably the most influential as well. At the time of retirement, he was the first and only batsman who had scored more than 10,000 runs in test cricket. Later, there were many more batsmen who have passed him, but as per his comment years ago, he is remembered as the first to scale the 10000 runs peak. He has been also famous for his controversies, though he has been successful in ensuring that it does not stay long in people's minds. Samples of these would be the ouster of Chetan Chauhan, Dilip Doshi from the Indian squads; the walk-out in the match in Australia after being adjudged lbw against Dennis Lillee; the captaincy games with Kapil Dev; the 36 not out in 60 overs in the World Cup match against England.

Of late, he has been courting controversies more than usual. This piece is to try and look at them in brief and how Sunny has been talking more than he can chew.

Zonal selection in Indian cricket has been one of the most controversial point. Everyone, who has an opinion, has been proposing that this should be abandoned. Sunny Gavaskar has chosen to remain silent on this point. Any reasons why? His son, Rohan Gavaskar, has been playing for Bengal since his debut. Why? So that he can qualify from the East. If he played for teams in the West Zone, he would have a very difficult chance to be shortlisted by the selectors. Hence, Sunny has come up with the brainwave that since his wife was from Bengal, the latter is a hometown as much as Mumbai. This also explains how Rohan made it to the Indian squad eventually. Also, Sunny has been quite pally with Sourav Ganguly even when the entire world was against the ex-captain. Reason? Sourav is an influential person in the Bengal politics and keeping him in the good books would ensure that Rohan remains as part of the Bengali think-tank.

The one topic that made Sunny stoop down to very low levels was his attack against the Aussies, especially reference to the late Aussie, David Hookes. Even if he was supporting the Indian team in mind games (though how useful it was, was evident to the entire world) against the Aussies, it was in a very bad taste. Later, he made up to the family of Hookes by offering his apologies. But, the damage was done. Though, it is no secret that the Aussies were master-sledgers, it did not warrant or justify an outburst from the Indian ex-captain against them.

The recent controversial statements that Gavaskar Sr. made, was against Greg Chappell. This was one of a double game, if one looks at it carefully. He was part of the team that selected Greg during the Board meeting. He was also part of the board committee that was supposed to review the work done by Greg. Instead of voicing his opinions in the meetings, he chose the media to vent his opinions about Greg's way of management. He was also responsible for making John Wright cringe when he appeared out of nowhere as a batting consultant during the Australian tour of India. There was a lot of misunderstanding that arose as a result of the appearance of Sunny in the Indian squad. Sunny has been always one of the few who have advocated an Indian to be the coach - but why did he not chose Mohinder Amarnath or another Indian as a coach? His name was one of the few that came up again after Greg retired. But, that is another area that the Indian master never ventures. He has never opted to take control of Indian cricket, but chosen to remain on the sidelines, making comments on the performance of the selected coaches.

He has spoken of the Board suffering from an inferiority complex as they have treated foreigners with more respect than expected. In fact, it looks like he himself is suffering from a disorder where he likes to target foreign players even for a small mistake. The latest comments of his were again, targeted at the Aussie players. He commented that Malcolm Speed did the right thing to step down from the podium quicker than Sharad Pawar - and hence escaped the fate that the BCCI Chairman suffered (being pushed from the podium). The episode has been closed with the apologies of the Aussies to Pawar, but Sunny does not want to let lying dogs lie.

One wonders what has been his contribution to the Indian National Cricket Academy. But that is not what he would like to focus on. His sponsorships with ESPN, STAR SPORTS, YAHOO and various other columns is much more valuable than helping Indian cricket. There lies the tragedy of cricket in India.
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