India is currently busy playing a series of ODI and Test matches in Australia but the captain of Team India, Virat Kohli, recently took a leave to come back to Mumbai, India. Kohli is expecting his first child with wife Anushka Sharma, which is the reason that prompted him to avail for this paternity leave. However, this decision irked a range of controversy within the cricket fraternity and the people, which does not seem to be leaving Kohli anytime soon. Former captain Sunil Gavaskar took a strong stance against the management of the Indian cricket team by calling out the biases which are prevalent within it.
Gavaskar mentioned how the management has a separate set of rules for different players. He went on to speak about how bowlers as capable as Ravichnadran Ashwin are immediately sidelined if they do not perform phenomenally by picking “heaps of wickets” whereas, the regulations are much more lax for established batsmen, allowing them to enjoy certain privileges despite their failures. He went on to cite the instance where T. Nataranjan was not allowed a paternity leave for the birth of his first child. Nataranjan joined the team as a replacement for Varun Chakravarty after playing in the IPL 2020 in the UAE, causing him to miss the birth of his first child as he had to board a plane to Australia right after the T20Is. The management of Team India had asked Nataranjan to stay on board as a net bowler for the Test team that would be playing in Australia. This states that he has to remain in Australia until the end of all four matches in the test series which is January 19th, 2021 and only after that does he get to see his daughter. However, the management allowed Kohli to take a paternity leave despite being the captain of the team. Gavaskar highlighted upon this partiality shown by the management and expressed his outrage.
Gavaskar addressed this issue extensively in his latest Sportstar column. He cited how Kohli leaving for Mumbai was preceded by December 22nd’s match where India suffered a humiliating loss against Australia by a total of 8 wickets in the Adelaide Pink-ball test. This loss put Australia in lead by 1-0, however, Kohli, despite being the captain, was allowed to leave Australia mid-way. On the contrary, Nataranjan, despite being a match winner in the IPL playoffs and performing brilliantly in limited-overs cricket, was asked to stay back as a net bowler even though he had become a father during the IPL playoffs.
This prompted a response out of several Indians on twitter, where stood against Gavaskar, referring to his criticism as “sheer hatred” for Kohli and calling him out on his silence during situations when Sachin opted out of prestigious international matches. At the same time, multiple tweeters sided with Gavaskar, appreciating him for his boldness and outrightness.
In the absence of skipper Virat Kohli, the vice-captain if Team India, Ajinkya Rahane will be leading the team in the remaining three test matches which are scheduled to be held in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane.