India’s 51-run loss on Sunday (November 29) means that they have now lost the ODI series. While there is a 3-match T20I series to follow, doubts have already surfaced about India’s chances in the Test series, especially with Virat Kohli not being available for the final three matches.
The Indian captain has been granted permission to head back to India after the first Test in Adelaide to attend the birth of his child. While many former and current cricketers have voiced their opinion on the issue, reports about Sunil Gavaskar having been denied paternity leave on India’s tour of New Zealand and West Indies in the 1975-76 season have started doing the rounds.
In his column for Mid-day, former India captain Sunil Gavaskar confirmed the rumours but added that the circumstances then were different to the current scenario involving Virat Kohli.
“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," Gavaskar said.
"When I left with the Indian team for the 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,” he added.
The first Test against New Zealand began on January 24, 1976 with the final Test against the Windies ending on April 25, 1976.
‘There was no question of me missing a Test match other than for injury,’ says Gavaskar
Sunil Gavaksar clarified that he never intended to miss a game. After being injured in the third Test against the Kiwis, Gavaskar was advised four weeks of rest during which he wanted to come back to his wife in India.
“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," Gavaskar, who was the second-highest run-getter in the four-match Test series with 390 runs at an average of 55.71, said.
“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,” he added.
Ajinkya Rahane will lead the side in Virat Kohli’s absence, and will try to help India retain the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.