#CWC15 Diary: Sunil Gavaskar to the rescue, travel blues and no sledging please

Joy Chakravarty 16:10 03/03/2015
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Sunil Gavaskar saved a large number of Indian journalists money, and most importantly, hassles.

Former Indian captain, the legendary Sunil Gavaskar, should be accorded some kind of a superhero status.

Throughout his playing career, he was the lone man standing for India against some of the most ferocious bowling attacks in the world.

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Then, during the infamous Mumbai riots in 1993, he once again proved how brave he was by fronting up to a wild and out-of-control mob and saved a family from being lynched.

And he was doing the same on Saturday during India’s match against the UAE in Perth. It may not have been as heroic as his previous attempts, but it did save a large number of Indian journalists money, and most importantly, hassles.

It so happened that Gavaskar, who is at the World Cup as a commentator for STAR Sports, was having lunch at the media dining area and chatting up a group of scribes.

Throughout Sunil's playing career, he was the lone man standing for India against some of the most ferocious bowling attacks in the world.

He was speaking about his recent flight to New Zealand, when he suddenly remembered something and asked the group: “Guys, I hope you all have return tickets from New Zealand?”

That was a good question because almost none of them had booked their return ticket, mainly because it is still not clear where India will play their quarter-final match.

It was then that Gavaskar warned them how strict New Zealand immigration rules are about not allowing entry to any person into the country unless they have confirmed return tickets.

Another crisis situation averted, Superman Gavaskar accepted the thanks from all corners and walked back into the commentary box.

Travel blues
The Melbourne Cricket Ground is one of the most spectacular stadiums in the world.

Don’t understand why some players are complaining about the amount of travel they have to do between the matches.

Let’s see if their issues compare to mine in reaching Napier from Perth, via Melbourne and Christchurch – that is a journey across several time zones and almost 5,500 kilometers from the westernmost end of Australia to the easternmost end of New Zealand.

The trouble started at Perth itself. The incoming flight was delayed by a couple of hours because of a thunderstorm over Melbourne. So, I was up the whole night before reaching Melbourne, only to miss the connecting flight to Christchurch. Which also meant I missed my flight from Christchurch to Napier, which was important if I had to catch the UAE team to file my stories before they called it a night.

To cut a long story short, I reached Napier at 7:30pm, went straight to the team hotel, and bless the accommodating UAE team who were still willing to speak at that time.

No sledging please

Pakistan versus UAE is one match where the opposition cannot get away with sledging.

That’s because all 15 players in the squad will understand each other. The UAE have nine Pakistanis, but the two Indians, two Emiratis and the two Sri Lankans also understand and can speak in Urdu.

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