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India vs Australia: 'Sunil Gavaskar Didn't Want to Face Bouncers in Jamaica After Son Was Born' - Anshuman Gaekwad on Virat Kohli & Paternity Leave

India vs Australia: 'Sunil Gavaskar Didn't Want to Face Bouncers in Jamaica After Son Was Born' - Anshuman Gaekwad on Virat Kohli & Paternity Leave

Sunil Gavaskar was genuinely afraid of being badly hurt as he wanted to eventually fly home and be with his son, said former India cricketer Anshuman Gaekwad.

Virat Kohli’s decision to fly back home after the first Test against Australia at Adelaide and be with wife Anushka Sharma for the birth of their first child garnered mixed reactions from cricket fans and experts. While some praised him for putting personal life above all, others criticised him for not putting national duty first. The dilemma of being caught up between national duty and personal life is one that former India skipper Sunil Gavaskar has also experienced, as he was on tour in the West Indies when his son Rohan was born. As revealed by former India cricketer Anshuman Gaekwad, Gavaskar was genuinely afraid of being badly hurt as he wanted to eventually fly home and be with his son.

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The 1976 Test match in Jamaica saw the West Indian bowlers bowl a barrage of bouncers at a time when there was absolutely no restrictions on the number of short balls a bowler could bowl and, as Gaekwad put it, Gavaskar did not want to be facing too many of them and was thus angry when the umpires refused to intervene.

“1976 in West Indies. That Jamaica Test match which we talk about – the bloodbath. Sunil [Gavaskar] complained to the umpires about the bouncers and beamers that were being bowled at us. The umpire just laughed it off,” Gaekwad told Sportskeeda.

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“Sunil lost his cool. For the first time, I had ever seen him lose his cool at the ground and that too while batting. He threw his gloves and bat and started walking around.

“I told him, ‘Sunny, relax. What happened?’ he said, ‘I don’t want to get killed here. I want to go home and see my son, who’s just born’. That’s the difference between then and now.”

Kohli played in the ODI and T20I series on the Australia tour after which he played in the Day-Night Adelaide Test, which India lost by 8 wickets. He left for India after the first Test was over. India were led by vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane in the Melbourne Test which they won.

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And while Gaekwad didn’t defend or criticise Kohli’s decision, he did make it clear that such a call is an individual one and that no one should be unnecessarily criticised for making such decisions.

“It all depends on the individual. You cannot hurt anyone’s sentiments and emotions. If one feels I have to be there then no question. Be it a Test, or ODI or the World Cup,” Gaikwad said.

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