The jury is still out on whether the World Cup in the West Indies can set the cricket world ablaze. But the first bushfire has been lit, off-field, by Sunil Gavaskar and Ricky Ponting. The Little Master has said that despite being world champions, the Australians were not liked by many because of their “awful” on-field behaviour.
In turn, Punter has said, “we all know the way he played his cricket, don’t we?” referring to Gavaskar’s decision to take his partner Chetan Chauhan and walk off the field after being given out contentiously. Now, Gavaskar says he walked only because he was abused by the Australians, a fact he has not revealed for 25 years.
Questions: Is Gavaskar, who batted left-handed against Karnataka when Bombay was about to lose, right in lecturing Ponting about on-field behaviour? If he walked in 1981 because of abuse, not because he doubted the umpire’s decision, why didn’t he make it public all this while? Is Australia really not liked, or is it just a boulder Gavaskar is carrying on his shoulder? Is the Indian on-field behaviour any better than the Aussies (remember Saurav Ganguly arriving late the toss with Steve Waugh)? In an era when winning is all, does on-field behaviour matter at all?