Former India captain Sunil Gavaskar hailed captain Virat Kohli’s side as one of the best in the world and said he was particularly impressed with the manner in which the side manages to churn out results and dominate the game.
“I hope they (India) keep the winning momentum going. This team has certainly got the capability to win in any condition,” Gavaskar said at Sportale, a sport-themed literary festival, here in Pune on Wednesday. India take on Australia for the first Test in Pune from Thursday as Kohli aims to extend their streak of 19 unbeaten Tests in this series.
“I like the team’s attitude. The belief that they have in each other is excellent. The current team is being able to do what we haven’t. We couldn’t close series by 3-0, 4-0, 5-0 or those margins. This team has been consistently doing that,” said Gavaskar about the current India cricket team.
Gavaskar, whose autobiography ‘Sunny Days’ completed 40 years, was in conversation with former India batsman VVS Laxman at the event. From facing the likes of Andy Roberts, Imran Khan and Malcolm Marshall without a helmet to go on to score 10,000 runs in Test cricket, Gavaskar said the only reason he did not want to relaunch a second edition of the book was because he feared it would prove to be a “nuclear bomb”.
He, however, was open to ideas if a few changes helped the longest format of the game gain popularity. “I think Test cricket has its own charm. I don’t think we need to tinker around too much with Test cricket,” he said.
“However, to make it a bit more compact, I would certainly want to bring in the one-day wide ball rule into Test cricket. Not down the leg-side, but certainly on the off-side. I would like to see that line drawn so that negative bowling can be stopped.”
On playing more pink-ball Tests, which has been popular since its inception, Gavaskar voted in favour, albeit with a caveat. “Where there is no dew factor, it will be a terrific day-night cricket. The pink ball apparently, those who have played with it, believe that it can be seen well, it lasts for 60-70 overs, which is what you want so yeah… But what is important is that there should be no dew, else it takes the bowler completely out of the game for the last three hours.”
Taking a walk down memory lane in the 80-minute conversation, Gavaskar spoke of several incidents from his playing days, most of which were dominated by stories against the West Indies. “A lot of people wondered why I wanted to bat at number 4. Well, Gundappa Viswanath had been dropped from the Indian team and I had to stand in the slips where you’re expected to concentrate for every ball,” Gavaskar told the audience of the innings when he scored an unbeaten 236 in Chennai.