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‘Different rules for Virat Kohli and T Natarajan, Ashwin suffered because he spoke up’: Sunil Gavaskar

Sunil Gavaskar also criticised the team management by pointing out how they allowed captain Virat Kohli to leave Australia citing paternity leave after the first Test but pacer Natarajan was forced to stay as a 'net bowler' to be part of the Indian contingent after becoming a father during the IPL 2020 playoff.

Hinting at a clear divide in the Indian cricket team, Former India skipper Sunil Gavaskar on Wednesday said that there has been differential treatment towards players within the team. The former captain also slammed the BCCI and the current team management for the alleged discrimination against the players in the team.

Citing the examples of T Natarajan and senior spinner Ravichandran Ashwin, the Indian cricketing legend Sunil Gavaskar said that there are double standards in the Indian team when it comes to the treatment of players. In his column on Sportstar, Gavaskar said that Indian test spinner Ravichandran Ashwin has suffered for far too long for speaking his mind at the team meetings.

The former captain pointed out how the Tamil Nadu spinner was regularly dropped from the team after one average performance while other established batsmen remain unchallenged despite their poor show.

“For far too long Ashwin has suffered not for his bowling ability of which only the churlish will have doubts, but for his forthrightness and speaking his mind at meetings where most others just nod even if they don’t agree,” Gavaskar wrote in his column for Sportstar.

The former captain added, “Any other country would welcome a bowler who has more than 350 Test wickets and not to forget four-Test match centuries, too. However, if Ashwin doesn’t take heaps of wickets in one game he is invariably sidelined for the next one. That does not happen to established batsmen though. Even if they fail in one game they get another chance and another and another but for Ashwin, the rules seem to be different”.

It is important to note that Ravichandran Ashwin, who plays only red-ball format currently, has been sidelined from shorter formats completely. The prolific spinner last played ODI for India in 2017 and was then dropped later despite his good show in IPL and the domestic circuit.

Ravichandran Ashwin is India’s fourth-highest wicket-taker in Test cricket with 370 wickets in 70 matches. In ODIs, he has 150 wickets in 111 matches while in T20Is, he has picked 52 wickets in 46 games.

Different rules for captain Kohli and newcomer Natarajan, alleges Sunny Gavaskar

Sunil Gavaskar also criticised the team management by pointing out how they allowed captain Virat Kohli to leave Australia citing paternity leave after the first Test but pacer Natarajan was forced to stay as a ‘net bowler’ to be part of the Indian contingent after becoming a father during the IPL 2020 playoff.

“Another player who will wonder about the rules but, of course, can’t make any noise about it as he is a newcomer. It is T Natarajan. The left-arm yorker specialist who made an impressive debut in the T20 and had Hardik Pandya gallantly offering to share the man of the T20 series prize with him had become a father for the first time even as the IPL playoffs were going on. He was taken to Australia directly from the UAE and then looking at his brilliant performances, he was asked to stay on for the Test series but not as a part of the team but as a net bowler. Imagine that,” wrote Gavaskar.

Concluding his column, Gavaskar wrote, “A match winner, albeit in another format, being asked to be a net bowler. He will thus return home only after the series ends in the third week of January and get to see his daughter for the first time then. And there is the captain going back after the first Test for the birth of his first child. That’s Indian cricket. Different rules for different people. If you don’t believe me ask Ravi Ashwin and T. Natarajan”.

The Indian team is currently touring Australia for a full-fledged series consisting of three ODIs, three T20Is and four tests. India lost the One Day series but managed to win the Twenty over format. The Indian team-led by Virat Kohli suffered a humiliating defeat in the first test against Australia after scoring a record-low score of just 36 runs in the second innings at Adelaide. The second – ‘Boxing Day’ test match is scheduled at Melbourne Cricket Ground from December 26.

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