IND v ENG 2024: “If any big name thinks that…,” Gavaskar's bold remark on star players missing England Test series

India have taken an unassailable 3-1 lead over England in the five-match series.

Virat Kohli pulled out of the entire Test series against England | GettyDespite missing the services of several first-choice players, Team India have taken an unassailable 3-1 lead over England in the five-match series.

Initially named in the Indian squad for the home Test series against England, star batter Kohli pulled out of the first two matches citing personal reasons. He later remained unavailable for selection for the remainder of the five-Test series.

Veteran pacer Mohammad Shami too was unavailable for selection because of an ankle injury, while senior batter KL Rahul picked up a quadriceps injury after the series opener in Hyderabad. All-rounder Ravindra Jadeja too missed the second Test due to a hamstring injury.

During the Rajkot Test, off-spinner R Ashwin had to withdraw midway through the game due to a family emergency and missed the third day’s play.

In spite of the setbacks, the Rohit Sharma-led side managed to secure the series with a Test match to spare.

No wonder, batting legend Sunil Gavaskar thinks India's 2-1 victory over Australia three years ago and the win in the recent home series against England can be kept in the same category.

Notably, India had won the Border-Gavaskar Trophy 2020-21 on Australian soil under Ajinkya Rahane’s captaincy even though they were badly hit by injuries and without their regular skipper Virat Kohli, who was on paternity leave back then.

Speaking on Sports Tak, Gavaskar fondly recalled the similarities between the Australia tour and now.

"India missed a lot of big names in Australia but they still managed to pull off a fantastic win not just in Gabba but also in Melbourne. They came back after being bowled out for 36. Winning in Melbourne then they battled hard to save the Sydney Test match. If Rishabh Pant stayed on the crease for half an hour then India could have won that match as well. But the courage, stamina, grit and determination that the young Indian players showed during that Australia tour was visible even this time around against England," Gavaskar said.

While Gavaskar refrained from taking any name, he added that cricket is a team game and if any individual thinks the team can't win without him then these two series are the biggest answer to that.

"That's why I always say, you don't need big names... If any big name thinks that India won't win without him these two series have shown that whether you are there or not (it doesn't matter). Cricket is a team sport. It doesn't depend on one individual," he remarked.

Gavaskar, the first batter to score 10,000 Test runs, showered rich praise on captain Rohit Sharma and head coach Rahul Dravid for guiding the youngsters.

"Credit must go to the way captain Rohit Sharma and head coach Rahul Dravid have managed the team. They gave chances to the young players, moulded them, and encouraged them to play their natural game. This shows that whether we have big names or not, if we have players with big hearts then we can win."

India will now face England in the dead-rubber fifth Test, slated to be held in Dharamsala from March 7.


By Salman Anjum - 02 Mar, 2024

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