CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand – Giving an option should, according to Sunil Gavaskar, be left up to the captain and coach. Giving players the choice to skip practice at the start of a significant competition like the World Cup should be strictly forbidden.
Sunil Gavaskar, a renowned Indian cricketer, was not pleased about the majority of India’s likely first-XI cricketers skipping the “optional practice” session on Friday before their T20 World Cup Super-12 stage match in Melbourne. Virat Kohli, Hardik Pandya, Suryakumar Yadav, Rishabh Pant, Yuzvendra Chahal, KL Rahul, and a few more players skipped the net session, and the former India captain responded forcefully. Under the cautious eye of head coach Rahul Dravid, the players sweating it out were captain Rohit Sharma, wicketkeeper-batsman Dinesh Karthik, pacers Arshdeep Singh and Mohammed Shami, all-rounders Axar Patel and Deepak Hooda, and traveling reserves Shardul Thakur and Mohammed Siraj.
Gavaskar told India Today, “I don’t know what that tells you, but it’s something that I don’t agree with. I don’t agree with the simple fact that, at the start of the tournament, when you had your match (warm-up match) washed out, when you came to Melbourne and had a day off, and then the next day, you chose not to practice?”
Giving an option, according to the illustrious starting batter, should be left up to the captain and coach. Giving players the choice to skip practice at the start of a significant competition like the World Cup should be strictly forbidden.
“But you want a rhythm going as a team and you want to have a feeling of purpose. Ultimately, individuals who didn’t show up for practice could end up being match-winners.
“I think the only people who should be giving options are the captain and the coach. For example, if you scored 100 in the previous game and you have a minor ache, the captain and the coach can say, “If you don’t want to come to practice, it’s fine.” Or, if a bowler has bowled maybe 20 to 30 overs and is experiencing a sore shoulder or something, the captain and the coach can say, “If you don’t want to come for practice, it’s fine,” too.
Gavaskar continued, “Giving the players the option is a no-no. There should never ever be that option. Only the captain and coach should be making that decision. How many times that has harmed Indian cricket is amazing.
Notably, there has been a lot of gaps between games for India’s cricket team, especially after their second warm-up match against New Zealand was called off without a ball being bowled.
“But at the beginning of the competition, optional practice? In the middle of the competition, when you are on a run and doing well, you give everyone a break and send them to the movies or someplace else to take their minds off cricket.
Gavaskar continued, “They might all show up (for practice) on the day of the game, but that’s not what I want to do. I want to demonstrate that unity of purpose by saying, “Look, we want to win. Tomorrow if it rains, what will happen? Your practice is gone.”
Rohit Sharma, the captain of India, was the center of attention when discussing their practice session. The seasoned opener batted against left-arm seamers while attempting to play as straight as possible, possibly in memory of Pakistan’s Shaheen Shah Afridi, whose incoming deliveries had previously dismissed him for a golden duck during the previous tournament.