I Was Committed To Playing For India, My Wife Backed Me To The Hilt: Sunil Gavaskar On Paternity Leave Debate After Virat Kohli's Decision

I Was Committed To Playing For India, My Wife Backed Me To The Hilt: Sunil Gavaskar On Paternity Leave Debate After Virat Kohli’s Decision

Sunil Gavaskar
Sunil Gavaskar. (Credits: Twitter)

Virat Kohli’s decision to take a paternity leave midway through the ongoing tour of Australia has caused quite a stir in the Indian cricket fraternity. The India skipper has decided to skip the three Tests of the upcoming four-match Border-Gavaskar series Down Under to be at the birth of his first child.

His wife Anushka Sharma is due to give birth in early January. In normal circumstances, Virat Kohli would have managed to return to Australia after attending the birth of his child. But due to the strict quarantine rules in Australia, he would not get the time to be play the latter Tests in Australia.

Virat Kohli
Virat Kohli. Credit: BCCI

Virat Kohli’s decision has drawn mixed reactions from the cricketing world. While one half has supported his decision, the other half has criticised him for not prioritising the nation. Former Australia skipper Steve Waugh had also expressed his surprise over the India skipper’s decision.

Sunil Gavaskar on the paternity leave debate:

Former India skipper Sunil Gavaskar recently found his name being dragged in the paternity leave debate. Recently, it was reported that the former India skipper was not granted permission to undertake a short trip to India to attend the birth of his child.

Sunil Gavaskar
Sunil Gavaskar. Credit: AFP

And the batting legend has reacted to the same. Sunil Gavaskar confirmed that there was no scope of BCCI denying him paternity leave because he did not ask the the board permission to return home from the 1975-76 New Zealand and West Indies tours to witness the birth of his son Rohan.

Sunil Gavaskar also said that he was committed to playing for India and received full support from his wife for his decision.

“While this is correct, the circumstances of that request were not quite made clear and so, here is an attempt to put the record straight. Firstly, I did not ask permission to return to be by my wife’s side for the birth.

“When I left with the Indian team for the (1975-76) twin tour of New Zealand and the West Indies, I was aware that the baby would come while I was away. I was committed to playing for India and my wife backed me to the hilt,” Sunil Gavaskar wrote in his column for mid-day.

Recalling that time, Sunil Gavaskar stated that he was injured in the third Test against New Zealand and was advised a few weeks’ rest. He did ask the then team manager permission to return home but eventually decided to fly to the Caribbeans for the series.

“The doctors advised a four-week break from the game for recovery. The next Test match was in the West Indies in about three weeks and since I wasn’t going to be able to play in the interim, I asked our manager, the legendary Polly Umrigar, if I could go back at my own expense for a few days and rejoin the team in the West Indies well ahead of the First Test.

“So there was no question of me missing a Test match other than for injury. In fact, I played the first Test despite the doctor having advised another week’s rest,” Sunil Gavaskar added.

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