New Delhi | Jagran Sports Desk: In the period between Feb. 1978-Feb. 1979, the Alvin Kallicharran-led West Indies played 25 International Matches out of which they won 15, contested Draw in six and lost just four matches. And among those counted few losses, one included an impeccable contest between India and West Indies played in Chennai, in January 1979, in which Sunil Gavaskar’s boys defeated the virtually unbeatable West Indies by 3 wickets.

All other matches had resulted in a draw, and henceforth it was enough for India to win the series against mighty Carribeans months before the World Cup in 1979. The pomp and posh after this victory got an abrupt shock, as the BCCI replaced Gavaskar with S Venkataraghavan as captain of the Indian Cricket Team.

Opening up about the same, Sunil Gavaskar wrote in Mid-Day: “I was replaced as captain despite India winning the series against the West Indies (1978-79) and in which I got more than 700 runs. I still don’t know the reason for it, but can only surmise that it was because I had been pretty open about the offer to join Kerry Packer’s World Series Cricket. However, I signed the BCCI contract before the selection, thereby proving where my loyalties lay.”

Gavaskar further opened up about how he had to really confront the selectors who wanted to drop one of the finest left-arm spinners the country has ever had, Bishan Singh Bedi, owing to his poor performance against Pakistan before Indians were to host West Indies.

“The committee decided to drop Mr. BS Bedi after three Test matches. In fact, they wanted to drop him straightaway after I replaced him as skipper after the series loss in Pakistan. I argued that he was still the best left-arm spinner in the country and so they reluctantly agreed to pick him for the first Test,” wrote Gavaskar.

“The pitches were absolute beauties to bat on with little help for the spinners. The selectors wanted to leave out Mr. BS Bedi for the second and third Tests too, but I managed to convince them not to,” Gavaskar added further.

Gavaskar was later on reappointed as Team India’s captain for the 1979-80 home series against Pakistan and Australia before the baton was finally passed on to Kapil Dev, who led India to win its first-ever World Cup in England in 1983.

Posted By: Simran Babbar