Former Indian captain and batting legend Sunil Gavaskar seemed to extremely stirred by the performance of India, who dominated the first day of the Boxing Day Test against Australia in Melbourne on Saturday. Under the leadership of stand-in skipper Ajinkya Rahane, the visitors ticked all the boxes to remain on the top of the game.
After the game, Gavaskar preferred to praise Rahane cautiously, stating that he might get accused of backing a Mumbai boy. Instead, he stated that India’s success on Day 1 should be considered as an effort made by the entire team members.
“Importantly, let’s not jump into conclusions too quickly. If I say that his captaincy is outstanding, then again, I will be accused of backing a Mumbai boy and all kinds of things will happen. So I don’t want to get into that because these are early days,” said Gavaskar on Sony Sports Network.
“It’s important for India to look beyond the fact that it’s only Ajinkya Rahane’s captaincy. It’s the way Ashwin bowled, it’s the way Bumrah bowled, it’s the way Siraj made his debut. I mean imagine, being a new-ball bowler, and you don’t get to bowl a single delivery before the second session. Only in the second session, you get to bowl in the 27th over but he showed great spirit in the way he came and bowled.”
Gavaskar stated that the three early wickets of Joe Burns, Matthew Wade and Steve Smith didn’t let India loose the grip over the game. Had it been the opposite case, their body language might have been different.
“These are the things we should enjoy. It tells you a lot about this Indian team that they were at the Australians’ and they got the early wicket. If they hadn’t got the early wicket, if Australia had gotten to a 60 or 70 for 0 kind of start, then their body language might have been different,” Gavaskar said.
Gavaskar went on to praise Rahane’s sense of setting up the field for his bowler, which turned out to be accurate in Melbourne. The dismissals of Smith, Marnus Labuschagne and Wade were the fine proofs of it.
“From what I have seen in the last 2 Tests he captained and the one-day matches he captained, he has got a great sense of where the fielders should be kept. Having said that, it’s very important for the bowlers to bowl to their field. If the bowlers bowl to the field, as they did today, then the captain looks very good,” Gavaskar added.