A day after Virat Kohli said the only cricketer who played with him to message him after he quit captaincy was MS Dhoni and former player(s) should have offered to help him directly instead of telling it to the world on television, Sunil Gavaskar has a few questions of his own for Kohli.
“What message does he want? Was it encouragement? After quitting captaincy, what encouragement do you want?” Gavaskar said on Aaj Tak.
But first, for context, this is what Kohli said: When I left Test captaincy, I got a message from only one person, with whom I had played previously; that was MS Dhoni. Many people have my number. On TV, people give lots of suggestions, and people have a lot to say. But none of the people who had my number sent me a message.”
Gavaskar wanted to know what specific message was Kohli looking for. “What message does he [Kohli] want? Was it encouragement? After quitting captaincy, what encouragement do you want? Captaincy chapter is over, end. Now show your total focus on the cricketer role. As a captain, you would be worried about all players. When you are no longer the captain, you can concentrate on your speciality,” Gavaskar said.
Gavaskar also gave an example of the day he quit captaincy for the final time in 1985 in Australia. “I also quit captaincy. Madan Lal (former player who was Gavaskar’s co-panelist on the TV show) was there with me, the evening after the world championship of cricket. We all met, hugged each other, and celebrated winning the trophy. Apart from that what message do you want? I don’t know. After quitting captaincy, I played on with the same team-mates. Team camaraderie was great, same. we had great fun,” Gavaskar said.
Gavaskar also had his say on the Kohli’s following statement made a day earlier. “If you give the suggestions in front of the world, it has no value for me. If it is for my improvement, you can talk with me one-on-one, (tell me) that I genuinely want you to do well. I live life with a lot of honesty, so I can see through such things,” Kohli had said. Gavaskar addressed that by saying it can be guessed who was referred to. Though in this context, Gavaskar interpreted the alleged former player on air as someone who has played with Kohli.
“Which former player is going on tv and talking – the one who played with him – we can understand who he is pointing to. Who is on TV and who isn’t we all know. But if Kohli is pointing towards that person, then you have to go ask him – why didn’t you send a (direct) message or whatever.”
Gavaskar had started off by saying it was difficult to say anything because it’s not clear who was Kohli referring to. “It’s difficult to say anything. If he had taken names, then you can go ask that player why didn’t you contact? But what I heard was he mentioned no one apart from Dhoni texted him after he quit Test captaincy. We don’t know what message that was.”
When Gavaskar’s reply ended, Madan Lal picked it up. He was direct and said Kohli shouldn’t have said ahead of a big game as it can deflect team’s focus.
“He should not give comments like this. It’s good you are back in form but you have to approach players when you are in difficulty. Not bring ego into this. When I was out of form, I would ask. He could have said this (about help) a few months back,” Madan Lal said.