Anil Thakraney: Gavaskar’s silence is deafening

29 May,2013

By Anil Thakraney


For many guys from my generation, Bachchan was the childhood hero. But even at a young age I was smart enough to be able to differentiate real and reel life, and therefore the movie star meant little to me. Today when I see Big B moronically sell us cookies and jewellery (don’t those ads make you cringe?), I am glad I did not make him my idol. My one and only hero was Sunil Gavaskar, and I still admire him for his cutting insights on cricket. I vividly recall Gavaskar taking on the most lethal fast bowlers of this world, wearing only his white floppy hat… that was sheer guts. More than physical strength, it needed nerves of steel. He was THE man to me.


About two years ago I chased him hard for an interview for a magazine. But failed. I can think of two reasons why. Some retired cricketers now prefer to speak only in exchange for money. Or, perhaps my nasty reputation preceded me, and therefore my childhood hero thought it’s best to duck this one. If that was so, he made a terrible mistake. Being a fan for life, my knees will have trembled in his presence; Gavaskar could have had me for lunch.


However, today when I watch my hero desperately play those ultra defensive shots on the IPL scandal, it breaks my heart. This could be because he has been and desires to be on the BCCI’s payroll, and he does not want to risk losing that revenue stream. Therefore in his appearances on NDTV (another paid contract), all he does is side-track important questions, or defend the organization that has ‘Controversies’ enshrined in its mission statement. This man cannot be my childhood hero, this must be an imposter. It deeply saddens me to state this.


I wish India’s finest batsman ever (I rate him above Tendulkar) chooses cricket over money. And takes the bull by its horns. Gavaskar is universally respected in this country, his views will make a huge difference. The IPL mess has put the credibility of the game on the line, and we need heroes like Gavaskar to rise to the occasion. Cricket has given the master batsman everything; it’s time to give something back to it.


Throw that helmet out of the TV studios, Sir. If blokes like Andy Roberts, Malcolm Marshall and Michael Holding could not intimidate you, why would you worry about a businessman called N Srinivasan? Be the hero you always were in my eyes. Take him on, and hit him out of the cricket ground.


PS: Terrific idea. Hold an exhibition of posters containing the worst client feedback, and make a charity organization happy. Indian creatives need to do stuff like this. So much better than indulging in dirty scam ads.




Anil Thakraney is a senior journalist and commentator. He is also Editor-at-Large, MxMIndia. The views expressed here are his own. He can be reached via Twitter at @anilthakraney


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