New Delhi:In a major shakeup in Indian cricket after Lalit Modi, the IPL underwent drastic changes. The members in the governing council halved, but the biggest omission was Sunil Gavaskar.
And talking exclusive to NDTV's Vikram Chandra, Gavaskar made it clear that it wasn't the honorary position that dissuaded him from joining the IPL governing council, in fact the BCCI didn't even extended the courtesy of informing him that his services were no longer needed.
Here's the full text of the interview:
NDTV: We are joined by one and only Sunil Gavaskar himself. Mr. Gavaskar, thank you so much, this development that you are out of the IPL governing council. How did you hear about that, when did you find out about it and how would you react?
Sunil Gavaskar: Well, this is a news that has come to me from the television channels. As of now, nobody from the BCCI has contacted me. So I don't even know what has happened.
NDTV: I have to say that I find it hard to believe. You are one of India's greatest ever cricketers, you are saying the BCCI has removed you from the governing council and have not informed you about it?
Sunil Gavaskar: Well I haven't heard anything so I am still not aware whether I am in or out... for the governing council I have no idea because as far as I know what I have been getting information is from the media clips. And that's about it so I really have no idea whatsoever.
NDTV: So from what they seem to be indicating it appears that legendary former Indian captains on the IPL councils have been paid. Now they don't want to pay anymore, so maybe they want people to work in an honorary capacity. But again, they haven't come back to you to figure it out whether you will be willing to do that or not?
Sunil Gavaskar: Exactly, nobody has approached me. And let me tell you as long as Indian cricket is concerned I would love to work in any capacity simply because I am what I am because of Indian cricket and it's not something done by me in the past. I have never taken a single paisa when I was the coach of the Indian team, when I was the consultant of the Indian team, when I was the chairman of the national cricket academy or the chairman of the other committees of BCCI, when I went as a coach for the Indian team for their preparation camp... I did not take a single penny so I have no idea where this kind of a story is coming from? For me it was an honour or duty to serve Indian cricket in any capacity and I was quite privileged that I had the opportunity to do so. So I think that this little canard that is being spread... I think it is a little unfair on me in case if that's what is being spread.
NDTV: This is a really useful clarification that you're making because that's almost exactly their insinuation that because they don't want to pay the IPL governing council anymore, that's the reason you're not there. You're wanting crores of rupees to serve on that council, otherwise you'll refuse to do so.
Sunil Gavaskar: Well as I told you, nobody has even contacted me as yet, so I don't even know what's happening. And let me also add that the earlier jobs I mentioned, they were highly paid jobs and I did not take a penny. I didn't expect a penny simply because I thought it was my duty, so I didn't even ask for it.
NDTV: Supposing the BCCI on hearing all of this or at some point realising that at some point they may have goofed in not talking to you at all, does approach you now and asks you to continue to play a role will you do so, or what?
Sunil Gavaskar: Yeah I will. As I said, it'll be a privilege to be able to serve Indian cricket in any capacity so I have no issues about that.
NDTV: And the rest of the changes you've seen, they seem to be out with the old and in with the new that seems to be the mantra right now. How do you see the efforts, a certain clean up that was required at the IPL in your mind?
Sunil Gavaskar: Well I'm not too sure about that. It's really up to the BCCI to decide upon what they think is the best way forward, and possibly they thought that having a few changes is the best way forward. It happens in cricket squads as well. Some players are taken in, some players are left out so I think that may have happened with the governing council members who've come in and replaced those who've not been there. And again, I'm only hearing about it through the news channels, I have no idea whether it's a fact or not.
NDTV: Looking at what's been happening in Indian cricket in the past 2-3 years - inner deals, side deals, lots of muck circulating - do you think is it really time, in some way or the other, the entire functioning of the BCCI - what's been happening with the IPL and what is now happening with the BCCI - all of this really needs to become a lot more transparent, more former cricketers involved probably better, transparency is called for in one of the richest sports bodies in the world?
Sunil Gavaskar: Yes, I think so. Some transparency is required, but have to say that out of all the sports federations in the country, I think the BCCI is the best one - remember BCCI is the one federation which does not have officials staying on forever. The president changes every three years, the secretary changes every four years. All the officer bearers keep changing so there are fresh thoughts, fresh ideas that keep coming in which is sadly not the case with other organizations.
NDTV: Final question to make sure I've got the entire picture. You're saying that the BCCI has not spoken to you yet at all about the IPL governing council, and it's wrong to say that you'd be demanding money to serve on that governing council. Is that correct?
Sunil Gavaskar: That is absolutely right. As far as I know, nobody has contacted me yet, so I don't see how I can react in any other way.
NDTV: Thanks for joining us and clarifying this entire picture. Are you looking forward to the India-Aussie series?
Sunil Gavaskar: Very much so, I'm hoping we get good pitches. If you get good pitches, you'll get good cricket because these are two terrific sites and we should be in for a terrific battle. We'll see some great batting, both teams have excellent batsmen, some of the greatest in the history of the game and the Aussies have new bowlers which would be interesting to see. And also it gives an opportunity to some of the younger Indian players who've broken into the ranks to establish themselves. So I see a battle royale coming forward in the next couple of weeks.
NDTV: Thanks for joining us and do keep your phone on, I suspect someone from the BCCI may be calling you soon.
Sunil Gavaskar: That is the problem Vikram, it's not easy to catch me. I think that is the reason. Mind you, if it was easy to catch me then I won't have got a run in Test cricket, isn't it?
NDTV: That's true as well. We were able to get hold of you, so let's hope they can as well. Alright thanks for joining us and shedding some light on all that's happening. Thanks for being with us.