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'Never Forget What England Did After The 2008 Attack': Sunil Gavaskar Wants India to Remember ECB's Gesture

Sunil Gavskar has welcomed BCCI's proposal. (AFP Photo)

Sunil Gavskar has welcomed BCCI's proposal. (AFP Photo)

The fifth Test between India and England here was called-off hours before its start on Friday after a COVID-19 outbreak in the visiting team's camp.

The legendary Sunil Gavaskar has lauded the BCCI’s offer of rescheduling the cancelled Old Trafford Test, saying India should never forget England’s gesture of returning back to complete a tour, which was halted midway due to the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks in 2008.

The fifth Test between India and England here was called-off hours before its start on Friday after a COVID-19 outbreak in the visiting team’s camp which made the Indian players reluctant to play fearing a positive result might lead to 10-day isolation and scheduling nightmare of Indian Premier League.

Both the BCCI and England Cricket Board (ECB) officials later announced that the match will be rescheduled at a later date as a one-off game, but the decision is yet to be made official.

“Yes, I think that (rescheduling the cancelled Test) would be the correct thing to do. Look, we, in India, should never forget what the England team did in 2008 after the horrific attack, the 26/11. They came back," Gavaskar told official broadcaster of the series Sony Sports.

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“They would have been perfectly entitled to say ‘we don’t feel safe. We are not coming back’."

The visiting England team was playing an ODI against India in Cuttack on November 26 when terrorists attacked Mumbai, leading to the cancellation of the last two ODIs of the seven-match series.

England headed home immediately, but later returned for the two Test series which India won 1-0.

Gavaskar said that the then skipper Kevin Pietersen was instrumental in England’s decision to return back for the Test matches.

“Never forget that Kevin Pietersen led the team, and he was the main man. If KP had said, no I don’t want to go, that would have been the end of the matter.

“It was because KP was willing to go and he convinced the others, the team came and we had that fantastic Test match in Chennai where India chased 380 to win on the last day," the batting great said.

Gavaskar termed BCCI’s rescheduling offer as a “fantastic news" and said the cancelled Test can be held next year after the Indian Premier League.

“Don’t forget, the gesture of the ECB has to be remembered," he said.

“It’s absolutely apt that the BCCI now says, right next year, we are still coming to England. I think there will be a little lean period. I think the IPL will finish in early June. So there is enough time for them to go a few days early, depending on whether we still have Covid and all the restrictions and maybe play a Test match before or after," Gavaskar said.

“This is fantastic news coming that the BCCi will make up for it. This is exactly what the relations between boards should be."

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first published:September 11, 2021, 11:35 IST