Lifting the lid over the mystery of him having never coached an Indian cricket team, batting legend Sunil Gavaskar says the inability to don the role full-time and being a ‘terrible’ watcher of cricket are the primary reasons why we never see him taking the job.
Gavaskar, one of the greatest batters to have played the game, has though been associated with the game as a broadcaster and a popular columnist who has never shied away from speaking his mind. The closer that he came to the role of a coach with an Indian team was back in 2004 when he was appointed advisor during home series against Australia.
Several India yesteryear’s stars including Kapil Dev, Bishan Singh Bedi, Sandeep Patil, Ravi Shastri (current head coach) have taken the job in the past, Gavaskar had maintained his distance.
“I’ve been a terrible watcher of cricket, even when I was playing the game," Gavaskar said on The Analyst YouTube channel. “If I got out, I would be watching the match very intermittently. I would watch for a while, then go inside the change room or read something or reply to letters etc. and then come out and watch again."
He continued, “So, I wasn’t the ball-by-ball watcher, like say GR Vishwanath is. GRV or my uncle Madhav Mantri was a complete ball by ball watcher. And if you want to be a coach or a selector, you’ve got to be a ball-by-ball watcher. And therefore, I never even thought about it… being a coach."
However, that doesn’t mean Gavaskar has never guided India cricketers. He admits that the likes of Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Sourav Ganguly among others have approached him during their active playing careers.
“Having said that, I’ve had people coming up to me. Not the current lot, but say Sachin, Rahul Dravid, Ganguly, Sehwag and Laxman. So I’ve been very happy to exchange notes with them… whatever my observations are. So yes, I’ve been able to maybe help them somewhere down the line, but on a full-time basis, that’s not something I can do," he said.