Sunil Gavaskar expressed his strong criticism of Rohit Sharma’s captaincy tenure, expressing his disappointment with the star Indian batter. Gavaskar raised concerns about the team’s performance since Sharma took over as the national team captain, despite his prior experience leading in the Indian Premier League (IPL) for several years.
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In addition to India’s recent humiliating defeat in the 2023 World Test Championship (WTC) against Australia, Gavaskar also highlighted their failure to reach the final of the 2022 T20 World Cup, where they suffered a humiliating 10-wicket loss to England in the semi-finals. “I expected more from him (Rohit). In India, it is different, but when you perform well overseas, that is the real test. That’s where he has been somewhat disappointing. Even in the T20 format, despite his vast experience in the IPL and having captained numerous matches, it has been disappointing to see the team, comprised of the best IPL players, unable to reach the finals,” Gavaskar expressed in an interview with the Indian Express Idea Exchange.
Gavaskar urged the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and the Selectors to raise important questions to Rohit and head coach Rahul Dravid. He pointed out various errors made by the team in the WTC final defeat. “They should be asking questions like, ‘Why did you choose to field first?’ Even though it was explained at the toss that it was overcast and all, the next question should be, ‘Didn’t you know about Travis Head’s weakness against short balls?’ Why was the bouncer used only after he had scored 80 runs? When Head came in to bat, Ricky Ponting in the commentary box immediately suggested, ‘Bounce him, bounce him.’ Everyone knew it, but we didn’t try,” Gavaskar added.
The 73-year-old also questioned whether the team had learned any lessons from the WTC final defeat, in response to Rohit’s comments about the lack of preparation prior to the West Indies tour. Gavaskar strongly criticized the idea of workload management. “What kind of preparation are we talking about? Now they have gone to the West Indies. You have the example of the World Test Championship before you. Are you playing any matches? So, what is all this talk about 20-25 days?… When you talk about preparation, be genuine about it. Go 15 days before, play two warm-up matches. The main players can rest, but the fringe players might actually challenge those who are not performing well. They don’t get an opportunity to show that they are good enough,” Gavaskar stated.
“The truth is that the main players don’t want to go early because they know that no matter what happens, they will be selected. And when you go early, they will talk about workload. You claim to be the fittest team in the world or fitter than previous generations, so how do you break down so easily? How do you have a workload issue when you play a 20-over game?” concluded the Indian batting legend.