Former Indian cricketer Sunil Gavaskar has slammed India for their team’s double standards when it comes to players and their personal leave.
Gavaskar made the scathing remarks after India’s shocking loss in the first test in Adelaide, writing in his column for Sportstar, comparing the treatment of two stars in similar situations.
Virat Kohli left Australia for the final three tests to go home to attend the birth of his first child, while fast bowler Thangarasu Natarajan remained separated from his family, yet to meet his new daughter.
Natarajan’s daughter was born while he was playing for Sunrisers Hyderabad in the Indian Premier League, which was held in the United Arab Emirates from September to November due to COVID lockdowns in India.
He travelled directly to Sydney from the T20 tournament. After making an impressive impact in the 2-1 T20 series win, Natarajan was asked to stay on for the Test series.
“But not as a part of the team but as a net bowler,” Gavaskar wrote in his column. “Imagine that. A matchwinner, 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.”
The remarks divided the Indian cricket community with many disagreeing with Gavaskar.
“Disagree with Gavaskar. No one is forcing Natarajan to bowl in the nets. He realises it’s a stepping stone for him. Kohli deciding to go back is a personal choice. Cricket is his profession, a part of life, not his entire life. If that renders him unfit to play, sure, fire him,” replied columnist Kartikeya Tanna.
While others agreed.
“Got to go with Mr Gavaskar on this one, double standards out in the open for everyone to see. If Natarajan’s role in the test series is just being a net bowler, it truly makes no sense making him stay back in Australia if he has a newborn daughter he hasn’t met yet,” wrote Nikhil Nanda on Twtter.
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