Gavaskar of 2010 is the same Gavaskar of 1981

E.R. RAMACHANDRAN writes: During the IPL semifinals between the Mumbai Indians and Royal Challengers Bangalore last night, one minor incident proved that the more things change in cricket, the more things remain the same with one of our greatest cricketers.

In Melbourne, in 1981, Sunil Gavaskar, opening batsman and India captain, almost walked out of the MCG along with his partner Chetan Chauhan, peeved at the umpire’s LBW decision off the bowling of Dennis Lillee, much to the astonishment of Australian cricketers, the public and to the embarrassment of the Indian team.

Thankfully, team manager Col. Durrani came running to the boundary and was able to persuade Chauhan to go back and resume the innings that saved great ignominy for Indian cricket.

Imagine walking out of a Test match because you don’t agree with the umpire’s decision?

Yesterday, when Rahul Dravid stood his ground after Sachin Tendulkar had ‘caught’ him in the slips, the self-same Gavaskar remarked:

Dravid is not going! After playing for so many years with Tendulkar and spending time in the dressing room, Dravid should know what sort of a person Tendulkar is. He would never cheat. Dravid should have accepted the catch and walked.

Gavaskar’s fellow commentator, Robin Jackman was more circumspect. He was not sure whether the catch had been taken cleanly and felt that it was rightly referred to the third umpire.

Subsequently it was proved beyond doubt that even as Tendulakr’s hands grabbed the ball, a part of the ball had touched the ground and hence it was not a catch.

Cameras do not take into account the celebrations. The cameras had conclusively proved that it was not a catch and Dravid was right in standing his ground.

It is possible that a fielder may not know if the catch had been taken cleanly or a boundary scored, as it all happens in a micro-second. That is why more than 20 cameras capture the action to be played in slow motion. It helps umpires to give the decision, reverse the decision if need be, after getting the facts clearly.

The yardsticks are same, be it Ricky Ponting or Tendulkar.

However, what  must have been surprising to millions of viewers as well as Robin Jackman, was the unnecessary diatribe by Gavaskar against Dravid whose credentials for fair play is one of the highest order, if not the highest itself.

In fact, the cameras proved Dravid was right and Tendulkar was wrong.

Dravid and Tendulkar have played for India with distinction and are ranked amongst the greats of the game and have shared many a great moment in team’s victory.

Gavaskar is one of the all-time greats of the game; there is not an iota of doubt about that. But as in the Melbourne match when he lost his cool and reason, he seemed to have lost again last night.

A little bit of humility adds lustre to greatness. Always. Both Dravid and Tendulkar are examples of that.

Gavaskar doesn’t have to go far to see that. There is one in his family in G.R. Vishwanth.

Photograph: courtesy World News

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