Umpire did not want me to walk, says Sunil Gavaskar whilst recalling hilarious incident from playing career
What's the story?
Former India opener Sunil Gavaskar, at his felicitation ceremony organized by Padmagandha Pratishthan on Saturday, recalled a humorous incident from his playing career.
Gavaskar, in a game against England at Birmingham, gloved one to the keeper off the very first ball he faced. Without waiting for the umpire's finger to make its dreaded signal, he trudged off the field silently. While that was an indication of good sportsmanship, an act that should be lauded, Gavaskar revealed that the umpire in question was standing in his first Test and was annoyed by the fact that he wasn't given an opportunity to send the batsman on his way.
"It was swinging prodigiously that day. I tried to move my bat away but the ball kissed my gloves on way to keeper's gloves. I didn't wait for umpire's decision and walked," Gavaskar recalled.
"During the lunch time, the umpire called me. I was surprised as I had walked quietly after edging the ball. He yelled at me, 'What do you think you were doing young man?' I said was trying to leave that ball. But he wasn't interested in my technique. He said that it was his first Test and on the first ball he got a chance to raise the finger to give the batsman out. But as I walked off he was denied the privilege of raising the finger," he added much to the amusement of the people present at the ceremony.
In case you didn't know...
Gavaskar was the holder of plenty of illustrious records during his playing career, but a few dubious ones as well. During the ceremony, Gavaskar recalled how Mohandas Menon had called him up one day to tell him about the fact that Ricky Ponting had broken one of his records.
In reply, Gavaskar shot back that no one would ever be able to break his record of being dismissed for a duck off the first ball of an innings. To his astonishment though, Mohandas confirmed that that record too had been broken and belonged to a Bangladeshi batsman.
This was when the 68-year-old recounted the incident in Birmingham.
The heart of the matter
Other guests at the ceremony also had a few interesting anecdotes to share with the public. Prashant Vaidya, former Indian cricketer, recalled how he had first met Gavaskar as a youngster.
"I still remember when I got the chance to play for the Dadar Union as an 18-year-old. But only 10 of our players turned up for the first match. Our coach Vasu (Paranjpe) sir called Gavaskar Sir and asked him to play if he wasn't busy. To my surprise, Gavaskar Sir readily agreed. In fact, my first wicket in Mumbai was caught Gavaskar bowled Vaidya," he recollected fondly.
For Gavaskar, it is back to the commentary box next as he is a part of the panel for the ongoing India-Sri Lanka series.
It was indeed an admirable act by Gavaskar to walk off the field without waiting for a decision, however, that being said, it did take a lot of the spotlight away from the umpire who would have been exhilarated standing in his first Test match and on the verge of making one of the biggest decisions of his career. I am all for sportsmanship and what not, but the umpires are there for a reason. Let them do their job.