In India, cricket is not just a sport; it’s a passion, an obsession, and a way of life. Everyone, from the chaiwala at the corner of the street to the CEO of a multinational corporation, has an opinion on cricket. And when it comes to the Indian cricket team, these opinions take center stage. With announcing the Indian cricket team’s squad for the 2023 Cricket World Cup, the cricketing world has been abuzz with discussions and debates. However, it’s not just the Indian cricket enthusiasts who are vocal about the team; foreign experts have also given their two cents. This has raised the ire of Sunil Gavaskar, a cricketing legend and former Indian cricket team captain.
Gavaskar’s outburst triggered a statement made by former Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chief Najam Sethi. Sethi had indicated, through a post on social media, that India might be hesitant to play Pakistan in the upcoming World Cup. While this statement garnered attention, Gavaskar expressed his exasperation at foreign experts and authorities commenting on the Indian cricket team.
“If you see the statements that come out from their side…sadly our media gives them the prominence. We have Pakistan players, and Australian players selecting Indian team. How is it their concern? Do any Indian players go and select the Australian or the Pakistan team? It’s none of our business. But we allow that,” Sunil Gavaskar said on Sports Today.
Sunil Gavaskar’s frustration with foreign experts weighing in on the Indian team’s affairs is evident. He questions the relevance of foreign opinions when it comes to Indian cricket, especially considering that Indian experts don’t interfere in the selection processes of other teams.
Gavaskar stated, “How is it their concern? Do any Indian players go and select the Australian or the Pakistan team? It’s none of our business. But we allow that.”
Furthermore, he pointed out that foreign experts often compare Indian players unfavorably with their counterparts from other countries. This leads to discussions such as “Babar is better than Virat Kohli” or “Shaheen Afridi is better than so and so.” Gavaskar attributes these comparisons to foreign experts catering to their audience.
Gavaskar’s advice to the Indian media and cricketing community is straightforward: don’t give foreign opinions excessive space in Indian publications and discussions. He believes such views from South African or Australian experts are unnecessary and can be ignored.
“Don’t give them space in your papers. You have a South Africa saying a player should be in your team. You have an Australian saying. It happens too often. They say who should bat at no. 3 or no. 4. C’mon, we don’t need your advice,” Sunil Gavaskar said.
During these discussions, the Indian cricket team announced its 15-member squad for the 2023 Cricket World Cup. Allrounder Hardik Pandya was named the deputy captain under Rohit Sharma’s leadership. The selection also included the return of KL Rahul and Shreyas Iyer, who had recently recovered from injuries. However, there were some notable exclusions, with Sanju Samson and Tilak Varma not cutting. The squad features three left-arm spinners and three specialist pacers.
In a cricket-crazy nation like India, discussions about the national team are inevitable, and opinions will always be varied. Sunil Gavaskar’s frustration with foreign experts offering their views on Indian cricket reflects the passion and possessiveness that cricket enthusiasts have for their team. While differing opinions are part of the game, Gavaskar’s advice to limit foreign voices in Indian cricket debates calls for greater autonomy and confidence in the abilities of the Indian cricket team to make the right decisions on its own.