The legendary Indian cricketer Sunil Gavaskar, along with former Indian off-spinner Harbhajan Singh, strongly criticized overseas cricketers who frequently offer their opinions on Indian cricket. While the exact reasons for their passionate response were not entirely clear, it appeared to be prompted by criticism of India’s captain, Rohit Sharma, from a former cricketer. This became apparent through the line of questioning posed by a television anchor on Sports Today.
In a robust message directed at former cricketers from other countries who regularly comment on various aspects of Indian cricket, such as team composition, selection, and batting order, Gavaskar emphasized that India did not require their counsel.
Gavaskar expressed his frustration, saying, “You have a South African saying ‘he should’ve been in the team,’ and an Australian saying ‘he should have been in the team.’ Why is it their concern? They are not our selectors. This happens frequently. Someone suggests ‘he should bat at No.3. He should bat at No.4.’ I mean, come on, we don’t need your advice.”
Harbhajan Singh echoed Sunil Gavaskar’s viewpoint during the same program. The former Indian off-spinner expressed his astonishment at foreign cricket legends, often referred to as “so-called” legends, commenting on Team India’s selection and team dynamics. Harbhajan pointed out that former Indian cricketers do not typically engage in similar commentary on teams like England, Australia, or South Africa.
“I wholeheartedly agree. It’s absolutely correct. After representing their respective teams during their careers, they are now offering opinions on selecting Indian teams. How does this happen? This is something that baffles me. Nobody allows us to go to Australia or England and select their teams. But these so-called legends provide commentary on India, suggesting who should bat at No.4 or No.3, or who should bowl the first or last over. Incredible!” exclaimed Harbhajan.
Gavaskar and Harbhajan’s statements carry validity. Indeed, many former cricketers from foreign countries share their insights on Indian cricket and the Indian team, often offering critiques of India’s performance. However, it’s important to note that they typically provide their opinions to host broadcasters, who generously compensate them for their expert analysis during India’s matches or tournaments in which India participates.
For instance, consider the ongoing Asia Cup 2023. In the Super 4 stage, in addition to former cricketers and experts from the participating nations (India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh), there are also former cricketers such as Matthew Hayden (Australia), Andy Flower (Zimbabwe), and Dominic Cork (England) who are part of the broadcasting team. This is not an isolated occurrence, as former cricketers from various countries are frequently invited to join the commentary panel during India’s series or tournaments. Naturally, the majority of their discussions revolve around the Indian team.