India defeated South Africa in the first T20I at Johannesburg by 28 runs and went up 1-0 in the three match series. The heroes for India in the match were Shikhar Dhawan (72 runs) and Bhuvneshwar Kumar (5/24).
The match also saw the comeback of Jaydev Unadkat to the country of his international debut for India after 8 years. Unadkat had made his Test debut in South Africa in 2010 and now made his return in the first T20I to pick up one wicket.
However, Sunil Gavaskar, who is commentating in the South Africa and India series; made a crass comment about the left arm pacer from Saurashtra. Taking a dig at the amount at which Jaydev Unadkat was bought by Rajasthan Royals in IPL 2018; Gavaskar said “As far as Jaydev Unadkat is concerned, I think he was just bought for so much money. Maybe he might have splashed that money to make sure that he played in the final XI.”
Gavaskar tried to make up for his gaffe by saying, “I am joking of course. He has such a good record in the IPL last year. He bowled exceptionally well when he was playing for the Pune team and clearly they wanted a left-hander in their ranks as well. He has got a good yorker. He bowls at a good pace – 140kmph. And the slower delivery that he has developed is also pretty deceptive.”
The comment didn’t go down well with other experts and Gavaskar had to change the topic to Unadkat’s achievements. Gavaskar had previously suffered a brain-fade moment in the 6th ODI, when he said that Virat Kohli’s first ODI century came in his 105th ODI.
The BCCI has punished and even sacked commentators for such comments. Harsha Bhogle was sacked for praising the opposition team more than the Indian team in the 2016 World T20. Arun Lal was sacked from his duties for allegedly commentating in Bangladesh Premier League; which is a direct competitor to IPL.
Danny Morrison and HD Ackerman were sacked from their IPL commentators’ job for calling Virat Kohli ‘India’s captain-in-waiting’ during the IPL 2013, when MS Dhoni’s captaincy tenure was under scrutiny. Australian legend Ian Chappell refused to commentate in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy after he came to know that his contract didn't permit him from discussing team selection, the decision review system or any of the administrative matters in the BCCI.
BCCI must take a strong step about the comment made by Gavaskar on Unadkat, since they have been doing the same for other commentators too in the past, as evident by the examples above.