Why Sunil Gavaskar will not be in Sydney to present Border-Gavaskar Trophy to Virat Kohli

Updated: Jan 01, 2019, 19:59 IST | Clayton Murzello | Mumbai

Sunil Gavaskar reveals he has not been invited to Sydney for the presentation of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy that Virat Kohli will receive; CA claims emails were sent

Steven Smith is presented the Border-Gavaskar Trophy by Border and Gavaskar in 2015
Steven Smith is presented the Border-Gavaskar Trophy by Border and Gavaskar in 2015

Turn on your television sets for the fourth India v Australia Test match at Sydney on Thursday morning and you will find Sunil Gavaskar mouthing cricketing gems from a Mumbai studio like he has done in the three previous Test matches. But the Indian batting legend ought to be in Sydney to present the Border-Gavaskar Trophy to Virat Kohli.

So, why will the Trophy that India and Australia have played Test cricket for since 1996, be presented by only Allan Border this time? It's because he has not received an invitation from host board Cricket Australia (CA) and according to Gavaskar, the only communication that the Australian board had with him about the presentation was in May when then CEO James Sutherland checked with him about his availability. Sutherland ended his 17-year stint the following month.

Gavaskar told mid-day that there was no follow-up after that, while Tim Whittaker, CA's Head of Communications, insisted that they have sent him two emails – one an invitation (in June) and the other, a follow-up in August, "with no reply to either". Whittaker turned down a request to share screen shots of the emails to Gavaskar. "We won't be disclosing personal information to media outlets," he said, adding that Gavaskar can contact him, "should he wish to have the correspondence forwarded".

Reacting to this episode, Gavaskar said he was used to it. A similar incident took place in 2015 as well when Gavaskar said he had not been invited for the ceremony despite him being in Australia on a commentary assignment. "To be honest, I am disappointed. In today's day and age, all it takes is an email, maybe a month earlier, to check I'm going to be in Australia. I would love to have my good mate Allan Border there as well," Gavaskar had told ABC radio on the first day of that Sydney Test. Like now, CA insisted that they had invited Gavaskar. The following day, according to the Sydney Morning Herald, Gavaskar received a formal invitation from CA chairman Wally Edwards. Thus, he and Border presented the Trophy to Steven Smith. Gavaskar was not invited for the 2007-08 presentation as well.

Even if a formal invitation is sent (or resent) for this year's Border-Gavaskar Trophy presentation, the Mumbai man won't go. "I would have considered going if the invite had come before the series started as I would have been able to inform the broadcasters (Sony Pictures Network) of that so they could make alternate arrangements," Gavaskar said.
Kohli looks in prime position to be the first Indian captain to win the Border-Gavaskar Trophy in Australia. But the watershed moment in Indian cricket won't be witnessed by the man who set international batting standards for future generations to emulate.

'Selector' Gavaskar was forgotten in 2000
In 2000, Gavaskar was a 'selector' to choose Australia's team of the century but when it came to attending the gala function held at Darling Harbour in Sydney, Gavaskar was not around. Reason? No invitation! "I don't know what happened to the invitation. It may have been lost in post," Gavaskar told mid-day then even as Australian Cricket Board officials claimed an invitation was sent.

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