Sunil Gavaskar takes a dig at the Indian team management

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Sunil Gavaskar

New Delhi: Former cricketer-turned-commentator Sunil Gavaskar has hinted at a divide within the Indian team. Taking a dig at the management, he said that there were different rules for different players in the team.

The former India opener said that Ashwin has suffered within the Indian team because of his forthrightness. He also took a dig at the skipper Virat Kohli, who got permission to leave for India to attend the birth of his child.

Gavaskar said T Natarajan — who had become a father during the Indian Premier League playoffs would also be wondering about such rules. “For far too long Ashwin has suffered not for his bowling ability of which only the churlish will have doubts, but for his forthrightness and speaking his mind at meetings where most others just nod even if they don’t agree,” Gavaskar wrote in his column for Sportstar.

“Any other country would welcome a bowler who has more than 350 Test wickets and not to forget four-Test match centuries, too. However, if Ashwin doesn’t take heaps of wickets in one game he is invariably sidelined for the next one. That does not happen to established batsmen though. Even if they fail in one game they get another chance and another and another but for Ashwin the rules seem to be different,” he added. 

Gavaskar added that Natarajan has been forced to stay back only as a net bowler even though the limited-overs series, of which he was a part, ended almost a fortnight back. “Natarajan had become a father for the first time even as the IPL playoffs were going on. He was asked to stay on for the (Australia) Test series but not as a part of the team but as a net bowler. Imagine that.

“A match-winner, albeit in another format, being asked to be a net bowler. He will thus return home only after the series ends in the third week of January and get to see his daughter for the first time then. And there is the captain Virat Kohli going back after the first Test for the birth of his first child,” Gavaskar further wrote.

Kohli left Australia on December 22 after playing the first, to be with his wife Anushka Sharma during the birth of their first child. The second Test between India and Australia will be played at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Saturday (December 26) followed by matches in Sydney and Brisbane. Ajinkya Rahane will lead India in the remaining three Tests in Kohli’s absence.

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