Sunil Gavaskar's believe-it-or-not moment: Dropped as captain after beating West Indies

Updated: Jun 29, 2020, 12:09 IST | A correspondent | Mumbai

He also revealed how he convinced the selectors to retain Bishan Singh Bedi for three Tests against the Windies when they wanted to drop him after he led India on the unsuccessful tour of Pakistan in 1978

Slip fielder Graham Gooch and teammate Geoff Miller watch Sunil Gavaskar execute a square drive on the 1979 tour of England for which he was replaced as captain despite winning the 1978-79 series against West Indies in India. Pic/ Getty Images
Slip fielder Graham Gooch and teammate Geoff Miller watch Sunil Gavaskar execute a square drive on the 1979 tour of England for which he was replaced as captain despite winning the 1978-79 series against West Indies in India. Pic/ Getty Images

Indian cricket legend Sunil Gavaskar has put into focus an incredible part of his accomplished career for India in which he was replaced as captain by S Venkataraghavan in 1979 despite winning a home series against the West Indies in the 1978-78 season.

While writing about how he regretted not being able to convince the national selectors to include Padmakar Shivalkar and the late Rajinder Goel (the domestic giant passed away recently) in the Indian team, he also dwelled on how the selectors dropped him as captain.

Gavaskar wrote in his Straight Drive column which appeared in mid-day on Monday: “I was replaced as captain despite India winning the series against the West Indies (1978-79) and in which I got more than 700 runs. I still don't know the reason for it, but can only surmise that it was because I had been pretty open about the offer to join Kerry Packer's World Series Cricket. However, I signed the BCCI contract before the selection, thereby proving where my loyalties lay,” remarked Gavaskar.

Also Read: We might not be able to see any live sport for maybe 4-5 months: Sunil Gavaskar

He also revealed how he convinced the selectors to retain Bishan Singh Bedi for three Tests against the Windies when they wanted to drop him after he led India on the unsuccessful tour of Pakistan in 1978.

Gavaskar wrote: “The committee decided to drop Mr BS Bedi after three Test matches. In fact, they wanted to drop him straightaway after I replaced him as skipper after the series loss in Pakistan. I argued that he was still the best left-arm spinner in the country and so they reluctantly agreed to pick him for the first Test.

“Kapil Dev had just come on the scene then and along with Karsan Ghavri had formed a potent new ball pair for India. The spinners therefore didn't get the kind of spells they were used to. The pitches were absolute beauties to bat on with little help for the spinners. The selectors wanted to leave out Mr BS Bedi for the second and third Test too, but I managed to convince them not to.

Also Read: There's a tonny connection to Sunil Gavaskar's donation

“Kindly remember the India captain is co-opted to the selection committee but has no vote. However, after the conclusion of the third Test and anticipating that the Chennai pitch was going to be one with more bounce, the selectors went for Dhiraj Parsana, who like Ghavri could bowl both seam and spin. This is where I couldn't convince the committee to pick either Goel Saab or Shivalkar.”

Gavaskar regained the captaincy for the 1979-80 home season in which India beat Australia and Pakistan.

Read the full story here.

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  • 1/16

    Sunil Gavaskar was born in a Marathi family. His parents are Manohar and Meenal Gavaskar. (In picture) Sunil Gavaskar with his parents on his arrival from West Indies in 1971.

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    Sunny Gavaskar tied the knot with Marshneil, who is the daughter of a leather industrialist from Kanpur, on September 23, 1974. (In picture) Sunil Gavaskar with his wife Marshneil at a felicitation function.

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    Sunil Gavaskar with Sachin Tendulkar and Vinod Kambli during a felicitation function for the duo's 664-run partnership for Shardashram school in 1988

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    Sunil Gavaskar with then Indian team captain Ajit Wadekar and actress Waheeda Rehman at a felicitation function after India's 1971 victory over West Indies. 

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    In picture: Sunil Gavaskar practising at Kolkata's Eden Gardens during the 1978-79 Test series against West Indies

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    In picture: Dilip Vengsarkar, Sunil Gavaskar, Ghulam Shaikh and Vithal Patil before a Kanga League match at CCI in the late 70s

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    In picture: Sunil Gavaskar interviews Sachin Tendulkar for his talk show. The two have often been compared with each other. Both Gavaskar and Tendulkar have the nickname 'Little Master'

  • 8/16

    In picture: Sunil Gavaskar (extreme right) looks on as his son, Rohan (centre) feeds his bride, Swati, during their wedding ceremony at the Wodehouse Gymkhana, Colaba in April 2003.

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    In picture: Sunil Gavaskar delivering a speech after receiving the World Championship of Cricket trophy after beating Pakistan in the final at Melbourne in 1985

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    In picture: Sunil Gavaskar walking out to open the batting with his partner Chetan Chauhan during the 1978-79 Test series against West Indies

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    In picture: Asif Iqbal with Sunil Gavaskar during a Test match

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    In picture: Australian captain Bob Simpson celebrates his country's 3-2 Test series win in Adelaide, 1978, with Sunil Gavaskar and India captain Bishan Singh Bedi

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    In picture: Sunil Gavaskar interviews Australian fast bowler Jeff Thomson for an Indian magazine

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    In picture: Then Pakistan President, the late General Zia-Ul-Haq presenting Sunil Gavaskar with a carpet for his 100th Test in Lahore, 1984

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    In picture: Kapil Dev, P.R. Mansingh, the Indian team manager of 1983 and Sunil Gavaskar at the Wankhede stadium in 1999

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    In picture: Dean Jones, Allan Border, Sunil Gavaskar and Milind Rege sharing a light moment at the Bombay Gymkhana

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