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Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Brisbane Test ... or Sydney .. ! - Gavaskar bats for Ashwin and T Natarajan !!

Wonder what this woman has to do in this predominant Cricket post !!

At a time when  pacers Andy Roberts, Michael Holding, Malcolm Marshall, Chris Old, Bob Willis, Ian Botham, Richard Hadlee, Imran Khan, Jeff Thomson, Dennis Lillee and others dominated the Test scene – the opener stood up (not even wearing a helmet for almost all of his career).  Apart from his physical appearance, everything about Sunil Gavaskar was immense, especially the statistical milestones he achieved over his 17-year international career.  He was the first to make 10000 runs in Test Cricket.   Now that elite club has 12 members and none of them are presently playing !

In 2011, India toured England and were whitewashed – Indian fans were despaired.  Around the time of First Test elections were held for the President of the Mumbai Cricket Association, Dilip Vengsarkar was defeated by a politician named Vilasrao Deshmukh.  There was an article by  Ramachandra Guha wondering why the  two most famous former cricketers from the city, Sunil Gavaskar and Ravi Shastri who  had played alongside Vengsarkar for many years, for both Mumbai and India did not support him !   .. .. .. paying annually  Rs 3.6 crore annually to both of them as centrally contracted commentators, with instructions to toe the official line, which is implicit in any employer-employee relationship.   

One of the oldest cities in Australia, Brisbane was founded upon the ancient traditional lands of the Jagera people, including the Turrbal group, who named the area Meanjin. Named after the Brisbane River on which it is located—which in turn takes its name from Scotsman Sir Thomas Brisbane, the Governor of New South Wales at the time of the city's founding.     Brisbane is the Capital of Queensland, Australia. 

When Annastacia Palaszczuk announced the return of border checkpoints on Monday her spin doctors pumped her social media pages with propaganda hailing the decision as a huge win for Queenslanders. A video of the premier announcing the change was posted on her Facebook and Twitter pages with the title 'Queensland reinstates hard border closure with Greater Sydney'. There was not a hint of a genuine apology for the thousands of tourism businesses who had bookings cancelled, the families who were split apart, or the hardworking Aussies whose Christmas holiday plans were shattered after such a difficult year. To make matters worse, in her haste to show off her toughness, Ms Palaszczuk actually caused mass confusion by failing to clearly explain the policy change. Annastacia Palaszczuk  has been the Premier of Queensland since 2015 and the Leader of the Labour Party in Queensland since 2012. She was first elected to the Legislative Assembly of Queensland for the seat of Inala at the 2006 election.


In one afternoon the foundation of Indian batting line-up was cluttered as they collapsed to an unimaginable low of 36.  Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins destroyed them  with Josh returning a miserly 5 for 8 !  .. .. India would play their 2nd test on Boxing day at Melbourne –in Jan 2021, 3rd Test at Sydney and 4th at Brisbane.  .. .. there could be some changes in the venue !!

It was only earlier this week that the New Year Test was in doubt to be played at the Sydney Cricket Ground, but the iconic Moore Park venue could now be set to host two of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy series matches as COVID-19 continues to inflict mayhem on Cricket Australia. While the outbreak of the virus on Sydney's Northern Beaches originally forced Cricket Australia to consider handing either the MCG or the Gabba a second match, The Daily Telegraph and ESPN Cricinfo say the governing body is now rethinking its plans as a result of the Queensland government's latest move. Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk today announced the state's southern border was closed to Greater Sydney, meaning broadcasters and Cricket Australia staff could have trouble travelling to Brisbane for the fourth Test.

David Warner and Sean Abbott won't feature in the Test series until at least the third match, set to begin on January 7, after the duo were today ruled out of the Boxing Day Test because they had been in Sydney too recently. Cricket Australia on Saturday rushed the pair to Melbourne so they could quarantine before the arrival of the rest of the squad for the Boxing Day Test.

Back home, former India captain Bishan Singh Bedi has written to Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) president Rohan Jaitley, asking for the removal of his name from a stand at the Feroz Shah Kotla after coming to know about plans to install a statue of Rohan’s father and former head of the state association, Arun Jaitley, at the stadium. Bedi and Jaitley were often at loggerheads during the latter’s lifetime.

Ravichandran Ashwin has “suffered” within the Indian team because of his “forthrightness”, such that he has always had to fight for his place in the XI, said Sunil Gavaskar. Claiming there are “different rules for different players” within the national side, Gavaskar said T Natarajan — who had become a father during the IPL season — would also be wondering about such “rules”. Writing a column on Sportstar, Gavaskar said: “For far too long Ashwin has suffered not for his bowling ability of which only the churlish will have doubts, but for his forthrightness and speaking his mind at meetings where most others just nod even if they don’t agree. If Ashwin doesn’t take heaps of wickets in one game he is invariably sidelined for the next one. That does not happen to established batsmen though.”

He then went on to speak about T Natarajan, who made his international debut days after having becoming a father, travelling directly to Australia from the IPL bio-bubble in the UAE, where he had burst onto the stage. Natarajan is yet to see his daughter and is with the Indian team as a net bowler even though he is not part of the Test side. Virat Kohli has left Australia after the 1st Test to be present for the birth of his child in India.  Speaking about this, Gavaskar said, “(T Natarajan) had become a father for the first time even as the IPL playoffs were going on. He was asked to stay on for the (Australia) Test series but not as a part of the team but as a net bowler. Imagine that. A match winner, albeit in another format, being asked to be a net bowler. He will thus return home only after the series ends in the third week of January and get to see his daughter for the first time then. And there is the captain (Virat Kohli) going back after the first Test for the birth of his first child.”

Though his batting and his straight drives were immaculate, I feel, the comparison here is not correct .. .. Virat Kohli has taken a personal decision to be with his wife at the time of childbirth (being an established star, he is in a position to decide) – paternity leave is not new in Cricket – there have been many stars who have stayed off their National duties for this – Natarajan is a rising star and that time, he was not even sure of his debut – perhaps it was his own decision to look at his career than take paternity leave !  There cannot be any comments on that as it is a personal logical decision.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

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