Virat Kohli’s decision of prioritising the birth of his child over cricket and fly back home leaving the Australia Tour midway has been largely appreciated, but there are a few critics who think Kohli should have stayed backed and finished the tour. Among them is former India international Dileep Doshi who believes the skipper needed to stay back with the team, especially after the Adelaide debacle.
Calling India a sinking ship, Doshi, 73, opined this is the time the team needs its captain the most. “To me, captaining India would be the prime-most thing on my mind. It’s a sinking ship. This is the time when they need their captain the most. If you leave at this time, you are leaving the side to your deputy with a lot of questions unanswered. I only hope and pray that the team shows enough character to come out of this.”
The Left-arm spinner who played 33 Test and 15 ODIs for India went on to add that while the BCCI cannot stop any player from taking such decisions; if he was in such a situation he would have not gone back, because ‘national duty comes before everything else’.
“I know this is a modern phenomenon that people believe that they ought to be by the side of their family and spouses when they deliver a child. I understand all that. But when you are on a national duty… If I put myself in his shoes, I wouldn’t have gone. For me, national duty comes before everything else
“This is a highly individual and institutional approach. Legally, you cannot stop somebody doing that. The cricket board cannot have a rule saying the players cannot go and be on the side of their spouses for such an occasion. Personally, I wouldn’t have gone,” added Doshi.
On Tuesday, Australia’s Steve Smith said Kohli deserves credit for prioritising the birth of his child over cricket as “there would have been a lot of pressure” on the India skipper to stay for the entire duration of the ongoing Test series.
“I just fist-pumped him at the end (of first Test) and said ‘Mate safe travels, hope everything goes well with the baby, and pass on my best to your wife.’ That was about it,” Smith said. “I’m sure there would have been a lot of pressure for him to stay but to stand up and want to go home for for the birth of his first child, it’s a credit for him. It’s a milestone that he certainly wouldn’t want to miss,” said Smith.
Earlier, Sunil Gavaskar had also clarified that he had not asked the BCCI for permission to return to India from New Zealand in 1975-76 to be with his wife for the birth of their son Rohan as he was committed to playing for India.
“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. 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.