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I'm not silent: Gavaskar

It is with some dismay but a great deal more amusement that I have been following the issue of my so called ‘silence’ on the current scenario in Indian cricket. Ever since the three Rajasthan Royals players were taken into custody, I have been on the TV channel that I am contracted to, and have given my views on the episode as it has unfolded. So to say that I have been silent is totally erroneous and downright mischievous.

Sunil Gavaskar
Legendary India batsman Sunil Gavaskar. Pic/MiD DAY Archives

There are reasons given about why I am ‘silent’, and the main reason is that my ‘silence’ has been bought by the TV contract that the BCCI has with me. Firstly, now that the BCCI has its own production house, it is well within its rights to contract those who they want to, just like other sports channels have contracted some other players to do commentary for them.

The reason why such contracts are done is to obtain exclusivity from the contracted entity so that he/ she does not appear on a rival channel and that is why good money is paid to the former players. That is also why I have not appeared on another TV channel excepting the news channel that has a contract with me.

Contract issue
If all those who are reporting on the episodes for their papers or TV channels cannot write for a rival paper or appear on another TV channel, then how can I appear on a news channel other than the one I’m contracted to? And since I don’t appear on the other channels, does it mean I am being silent?

Just like every player, I have been directly or indirectly contracted to BCCI since the age of 12, when I first played for Mumbai schools. I was then given one rupee per day if I remember correctly by the Mumbai Cricket Association. So throughout my playing career, I was under contract with the BCCI either directly or through its affiliate, the Mumbai Cricket Association. It is just that the quantum of the fees has changed from the 1 rupee that I first got when I played for Mumbai schools and that is thought as being the reason for my so called silence.

During the time that I played, I did speak up for the playing fraternity to ensure that their rights were looked after. I could have been dropped, but I did speak out for what I felt was right for my playing fraternity, and, believe me, playing for India was more important than any monetary inducement and yet I did not shy away from speaking my mind.

The police agencies are doing their job so the criminality or otherwise will be established by them. As for the morality part, it is a free world and to each his own. What maybe immoral to one may not be immoral to another, and as long as it is within the framework of the laws that govern our country, nobody should be forced to say or do anything against their will is what I believe in.

It’s up to Srini
So whether Mr Srinivasan should stay or step aside while the probe committee does its job is a moral issue, and it is for him to take a call on that. That has been my stand, and since it is not one that resonates with most TV channels and the print media, I am accused of being silent.

It is for the BCCI and Mr Srinivasan to take a call on the issue facing Indian cricket today because it is a moral issue. It is not for me to advise them what to do as everybody else seems to be doing, and if that is taken as being bought then good luck to democracy in our country. 

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