Sunil Gavaskar reveals incident that gave rise to rumours of rift with Kapil Dev

Sunil Gavaskar has trashed stories of a rift with Kapil Dev in the 1980s and revealed the incident that got tongues wagging about a rumoured power struggle between him and Kapil.
File image of former India captains Kapil Dev and Sunil Gavaskar (R).(AFP Photo)
File image of former India captains Kapil Dev and Sunil Gavaskar (R).(AFP Photo)
Updated on Aug 10, 2019 08:39 AM IST
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Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By

Indian cricket today has reached a level of consistency where it is seen as one of the best, if not the best, in the world across formats. But that was not the case in the 1960s and 70s, when the team struggled to put up a fight against the top dogs. Two men who changed the face and destiny of Indian cricket and eventually took it to the next level in the 1980s were batsman par excellence Sunil Gavaskar and the world class all-rounder Kapil Dev.

Both men reached personal milestones in Test cricket and achieved a lot of success as the captain of the team. The 1980s was a volatile period for Indian cricket despite the highs of winning the 1983 World Cup and other successes in Tests and ODIs. There were many firsts on the cricket field. Gavaskar and Kapil led this rise with their individual brilliance but the press was abound with stories of their rift.

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Sunil Gavaskar though has trashed these stories and revealed the incident that got tongues wagging about a rumoured power struggle between him and Kapil in a column for Sportstar.

“When Kapil was dropped for one Test, the Calcutta encounter between India and David Gower’s Englishmen in the 1984-85 series, the blame was conveniently put on me. But the truth of the matter is that his being dropped from the team was not proposed by me as the late Hanumant Singh, who was a member of the selection committee then, attested in an article he wrote a year later,” Gavaskar wrote about the incident that led to a lot of controversy and stories in the press.

Explaining why he couldn’t have taken the decision to drop Kapil, Gavaskar wrote that the all-rounder was a genuine match winner and could turn a game for his team and as captain it made no sense for him to drop such a precious player.

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“Whatever I might be, I am not stupid when it comes to cricket and I wasn’t going to suggest dropping my one match-winner and game-changer and thereby reduce India’s chances of winning even further. However, as a part of the selection committee, albeit without a vote, I was collectively responsible for the decision,” wrote Gavaskar.

Sunil Gavaskar was the first batsman to score 10,000 runs in Test cricket and held the record for the highest number of Test centuries (34) until Sachin Tendulkar went past him.

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