Former India captain, Sunil Gavaskar opens up about the infamous ‘walk-off’ in the 1981 Test match against Australia at the MCG after being given out leg before wicket off the bowling of Dennis Lillee.
Sunil Gavaskar has played the game with utmost grace, dignity, and composure. However, this particular incident doesn’t put him in a good light as he urged his batting partner at that time, Chetan Chauhan to walk out off the field after being given out.
Gavaskar has now revealed the reason for deciding to forfeit the match wasn’t just because of the umpire’s decision – the umpire’s wrong decision – but a culmination of other factors as well.
The Australians told me to get lost: Sunil Gavaskar
Speaking to former Australia pacer, Damien Fleming, Gavaskar points out that he clearly edged the ball which then hit his pad, which could be observed by the reaction or no reaction of the short-leg fielder. However, the bowler, Dennis Lillee started to have an argument with the batsman on the pitch.
“I got an inside-edge as you can see from the forward short leg fielder. He hasn’t done anything, he hasn’t moved. Dennis [Lillee] is telling me, ‘It hit you there,’ and I’m trying to say, ‘No I hit it.’ And now you see, I’ve asked Chetan to walk off with me,” Sunil Gavaskar told 7 Cricket.
The 71-year-old reveals that after accepting the decision as he was walking towards the dressing room, the Aussies sledged him which he clearly didn’t like. Hence, he asked Chetan Chauhan to come with him and leave the field.
“The misconception is that I was upset at the lbw decision. Yes, it was upsetting. But the walk-off happened only because, as I had gone past Chetan on the way to the change-rooms, the Australians had given me a spray. They told me to get lost, which is where I’ve come back and asked Chetan to walk off with me,” he said.
But this was just the tip of the iceberg as Gavaskar reveals that the umpires throughout the match have made decisions against the Indians- they even weren’t ready to give Australian batsmen out when they were clean bowled! Therefore, the opener was frustratingly decided to forfeit the game.
“But why walk off? The previous day we had this situation where we thought Allan Border had been out three times, and then after a hundred he’d been bowled around his legs and the umpire started to go towards the square-leg umpire to confirm it had happened, and Syed Kirmani said to me ‘if this is given not out, I’m walking off.’ I said ‘You can’t do that’. And he said, ‘No, this is questioning my integrity.’ So this word, ‘walk-off’, is there, so the next day when this thing happened, that’s it,” the legendary batsman revealed.
However, India’s tour manager, Wing Commander Shahid Durrani asked Chauhan to stay on the field. Not only the match resumed, but India won the game by 59 runs with the help of Kapil Dev’s five-wicket haul in Australia’s second innings.
Did you know Sunil Gavaskar has the match ball from the 1983 World Cup final?
— 7Cricket (@7Cricket) December 28, 2020