Current Indian team best in history: Gavaskar

Cricket legend Gavaskar, who was delivering the ML Jaisimha memorial lecture in Hyderabad, said the Virat Kohli-led Indian team stands out for winning so many matches.

Cricketing great Sunil Gavaskar says the current national team has to be the best in the history of Indian cricket .   -  GETTY IMAGES

Cricketing great Sunil Gavaskar says the current national team has to be the best in the history of Indian cricket .

The legendary Gavaskar, who was delivering the ML Jaisimha memorial lecture at the ML Jaisimha Academy here on Monday, said many teams had quite a few match-winners in the team but this team stands out for winning so many matches.

“This is what my guru Jai would have loved to see - the evolution of Indian cricket team into worldbeaters and to be there right at the top,” the former India opener said.

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Turning emotional quite often during the lecture,  Gavaskar recalled his bonding with his ‘hero’ Jaisimha and said the latter would have liked to see the game become a level playing field than what it is today - tilted heavily in favour of the batsman.

“May be, these rules are because the bowler can always come back with the last ball in an over even after being hit for five sixes but which is not the case with a batsman,” he said.

“Still, there is a need for a little bit of parity. The distance to the boundaries should be increased given the kind of bats the current players use because those five to seven yards would make a lot of difference. I have seen the likes of Sir Viv, Clive Lloyd, Greenidge caught on the edge of the boundaries in Sharjah,” Gavaskar said.

The former India opener also felt that the bouncer rule - giving an extra run and an extra ball if the ball goes above the batsman’s head when he is in a standing position is too harsh, for it takes away one of the weapons from the bowler.

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Gavaskar also said that once a fielder dislodges the stumps with a direct hit in his attempt to run a batsman out, the ball should be declared a ‘dead’ ball and no runs should be given even if the batsman is not out.

“Similarly, the leg-byes should be done away with since any runs should be scored off the bat and why should a bowler and his team be penalised,” he said.

The batting legend also felt that the fielding teams should be penalised not in terms of slapping fines for they don’t mean much to the modern day cricketers but by way of giving penalty runs which will affect the result of the match.

Gavaskar also said that the Indian team of the 1960-70 decade must be
the most glamorous team ever for it had so many good-looking, dashing
players. "Oh! We grew up watching them,” Gavaskar said.

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“With greatest respect to all others, I must say having watched and played cricket from 1960-2021, no Indian cricketer had the charisma of a ‘Tiger’ Pataudi. And, Jai and Pataudi were the best of friends and for me it was Tiger who taught us to go for the sliding stops on the bumpy playfields of our era to avoid any injuries,” he recalled.

“I do believe that the current Indian team too has a great bonding like those of Jai times and when we played. For no team can be successful unless you have the bonding and this comes from during off-field get-togethers. I am sure many of the current Indian players will have a lot of fabulous stories to tell as Jai used to say,” Gavaskar said.