‘Gavaskar Wasn’t The Best Captain’

When folks discuss India’s best captains, Mansur Ali Khan ‘Tiger’ Pataudi, Sunil Gavaskar, Kapil Dev, Sourav Ganguly, Mahendra Singh Dhoni are the names tossed up.

Shashi Tharoor knows who doesn’t make the cut.

Speaking on the sidelines of an event this week, Tharoor reverted to an argument he first outlined in a cover story in The Illustrated Weekly Of India, the legendary magazine published by the Times Of India group, in April 1985.

‘Sunil Gavaskar wasn’t the best captain India had,’ Tharoor said on Wednesday, ‘but he wasn’t too bad.’

Tharoor’s remark was a dilution of the points he made in the Weekly cover story, where he denounced Sunny’s captaincy in more vivid terms.

Ironically, the week the Weekly appeared on the news stands, Gavaskar led India to a memorable triumph in the Benson and Hedges tournament in Australia, the same competition where Ravi Shastri was declared man of the series and won an Audi for his all-round efforts.

In Pitchside (Westland), Amrit Mathur’s eminently readable recent book on his years in the game, the cricket administrator recounts an encounter when he introduced Tharoor to Gavaskar, whereupon the first batter to score 10,000 Test runs promptly reminded the MP from Thiruvanathapuram of the Weekly feature and its prompt aftermath.

For the record, Gavaskar led India in 47 Tests, with India winning nine matches, drawing 30 and losing eight games.

He also led in 37 ODIs, out of which India won 14 matches and lost 21.

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