Sunil Gavaskar pinpoints reason behind India’s World Cup semi-final loss
Former India captain Sunil Gavaskar has pinpointed at the exact reason that he thinks was the cause behind India’s disappointing ICC World Cup semi-final loss to New Zealand. He also voiced his concerns about the current vacuum of leadership in the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and how other boards were exploiting the situation.
Q) Do you think present day cricketers are exploiting the vacuum that exists between the emasculated board and a weak CoA?
Gavaskar: It’s the other cricketing boards which are taking advantage of the current situation in Indian cricket. While the BCCI prior to Mr Dalmiya taking over was chiefly a poodle of England and Australia, after Mr Dalmiya it had a spine and more importantly a voice that was heard loud and clear by all the other Boards. Mr Pawar and Mr Srinivasan strengthened it even more but the current situation has left it at the mercy of the old powers again.
Q) Did arrogance lead to hubris for India at this WC, were we overconfident? Do you see a similarity between this and 1987 when India had a top team and lost to England in the semis?
Gavaskar: In cricket you get a bad day and since we depended heavily on Rohit Sharma and Virat to get the runs we were in trouble when they failed. The batting order thereafter didn’t help either as an experienced batsman like MSD was needed then than a young Pant or Pandya.
Q) Was Sehwag the greatest batsman of his generation?
Gavaskar:Indian cricket at the start of the century had the greatest batting line-up in the world and Indian cricket history and led by a person also from Mr Dalmiya’s city, Sourav Ganguly, who would not take a backward step even in the face of fiercest opposition. It was a magical time to be an Indian cricket fan. Don’t forget there was Anil Kumble too and the one and only MSD was taking his first steps in international cricket.
Q) When a Marshall express wrenched the bat out of your hands in Kanpur, was that the lowest point in your cricket career?
Gavaskar: The lowest points in my career were always when India lost, especially matches that they shouldn’t have. Individual performances mean nothing if the team ends up losing or not winning.
Q) And how is it that you reinvented yourself so quickly to smash them in Delhi and Ahmedabad thereafter?
Gavaskar: Quite simply I didn’t get the chance to play the hook shot in the first Test but could do so from the next test onwards.
Q) Would the Bangalore bunsen innings against Pakistan be your greatest innings or when you batted left handed in a Ranji game against a rampaging Raghuram Bhatt to draw the game be your best?
Gavaskar: My best Test innings is 57 at Manchester in 1971. It was a green wicket in howling wind conditions but my then superstition didn’t allow me to wear a jumper.
Q) Biggest missed opportunity? Not batting along side Viv Richards or something else?
Gavaskar: The biggest missed opportunity was not to have a big partnership with the greatest cricketer ever Garfield Sobers when we played for the Rest of the World against Australia. I did have a big one with Rohan Kanhai though.
Q) Greatest captain you played under or against, or have seen for his tactical awareness and strategic thinking?
Gavaskar: The greatest captain of my time was Ray Illingworth. He was on the ball and you could see his team had belief in him. The other great captains were Ian Chappell and Ajit Wadekar who also had players who would do anything for them.
Q) Commentary or facing the Windies pack?
Gavaskar: At my age, definitely commentary. It’s always far easier than be the field. All commentators become greater players than they ever were when in the comm box.
Q) Would you have liked to play IPL and did Packer ever approach you to play WSC?
Gavaskar: Oh yes I would have loved to play the IPL. Just imagine fielding for only 20 overs. Oh yes for sure. Yes I was asked to play in World Series Cricket in it’s third season but I opted to play for India.