Sunil Gavaskar, the legendary Indian opener-turned commentator, has reckoned he may have been stripped off his duties as Indian captain in 1979 as he was open to accepting the offer made by Kerry Packer to join the World Series of cricket.
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Gavaskar, who besides scores more 700 runs, had led India to a series win against the West Indies in 1978-79 was soon replaced by S Venkatraghavan.
“I was replaced as captain despite India winning the series against the West Indies (1978-79) and in which I got more than 700 runs. I still don’t know the reason for it, but can only surmise that it was because I had been pretty open about the offer to join Kerry Packer’s World Series Cricket. However, I signed the BCCI contract before the selection, thereby proving where my loyalties lay,” Sunil Gavaskar wrote in his Mid-Day coloumn.
When Sunil Gavaskar persuaded selectors to not drop Bishan Singh Bedi
Gavaskar also wrote about he had to convince Indian selectors to not drop veteran spinner Bishan Singh Bedi after he led India to a series defeat against arch-rivals Pakistan.
“The committee decided to drop Mr BS Bedi after three Test matches. In fact, they wanted to drop him straightaway after I replaced him as skipper after the series loss in Pakistan,” Gavaskar added.
“I argued that he was still the best left-arm spinner in the country and so they reluctantly agreed to pick him for the first Test. Kapil Dev had just come on the scene then and along with Karsan Ghavri had formed a potent new ball pair for India. The spinners therefore didn’t get the kind of spells they were used to,” the former opener added.
Gavaskar also reminisced how he was unable to persuade Indian selectors to pick veteran spinner Rajinder Goel, who recently passed away or Padmakar Shivalkar.
“The pitches were absolute beauties to bat on with little help for the spinners. The selectors wanted to leave out Mr BS Bedi for the second and third Test too, but I managed to convince them not to. Kindly remember the India captain is co-opted to the selection committee but has no vote,” he wrote.
“However, after the conclusion of the third Test and anticipating that the Chennai pitch was going to be one with more bounce, the selectors went for Dhiraj Parsana, who like Ghavri could bowl both seam and spin. This is where I couldn’t convince the committee to pick either (Rajinder) Goel Saab or (Padmakar) Shivalkar.” Gavaskar added.