Sunil Gavaskar has cleared the rumour surrounding his paternity leave before 1975-76 West Indies and revealed that he did not ask for a leave from the board. He stated that he had utilized the time ahead of the starting of the series to fly back to India at his own expense to be with his wife.
The BCCI granting Virat Kohli paternity leave for the birth of his first child has been the talk of the town since the Indian board confirmed that the Indian skipper will be returning back to India after playing just the first Test in Adelaide. Interestingly, this has also brought out the legendary India batsman Sunil Gavaskar’s name in the conversations as reports started doing the rounds about how BCCI had refused to grant Gavaskar paternity leave in 1975-76 season ahead of the West Indies series.
However, Gavaskar has now cleared what actually transpired behind the scenes.
“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,” Gavaskar wrote in his column for Mid-day.
Gavaskar insisted that he didn’t ask for a leave from the board and was committed to playing for India with his wife backing him in his decision.
“Firstly, I did not ask permission to return to be by my wife’s side for the birth. When I left with the Indian team for the (1975-76) 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 said.
Gavaskar revealed that he utilized the time ahead of the West Indies series to be with his wife as he was injured and was advised to stay away from the game for four weeks. He added that he played the first match against West Indies despite doctors recommending his another week’s rest.
“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. 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,” Gavaskar added.