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Regret my act of dissent at the MCG in 1981: Sunil Gavaskar

Melbourne: Almost three decades after the infamous walkout incident in the Melbourne cricket Test which generated huge controversy, former India captain Sunil Gavaskar on Saturday regretted his act of dissent and said that it was a big mistake on his part.

Former India captain Sunil Gavaskar
Livid: Sunil Gavaskar walks off alongwith fellow opener Chetan Chauhan (left) after the India captain was given out lbw to Australia’s Dennis Lillee for 70 at Melbourne on February 10, 1981

“I regret the decision. It was a big mistake on my part. As Indian captain I was not supposed to act in that manner. In no way I can justify my act of defiance. Whether I was out or not, I should not have reacted that way,” Gavaskar said during a teatime chat show with Sanjay Manjrekar and Kapil Dev. “If the incident would have occurred in present times, then I would have been fined,” he added.

In the 1981 series that had been dogged by some inconsistent umpiring, a Dennis Lillee in-cutter caught Gavaskar plumb in front and umpire Rex Whitehead, standing in just his third Test, raised the finger.

But Gavaskar, who thought that the ball had got his bat on the way to the pad, protested by standing his ground long enough. As Gavaskar reluctantly started to leave, Lillee reportedly made one comment too many and the Indian snapped, returned to the crease and instructed fellow opener Chetan Chauhan to walk off the pitch with him.

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