Cricketer-turned-commentator Aakash Chopra has said unlike “a lot of other industries” there is no nepotism in cricket and sons of even the biggest legends have to back their selection with some solid performances. To prove his point, the former opener sought the example of Sunil Gavaskar’s son Rohan Gavaskar and said that the former batsman did not have a long career and even when he was selected in the team, it was because of his performance in domestic cricket.
Aakash Chopra talked about Sachin Tendulkar’s son Arjun also, saying that the 20-year-old was not being fast-tracked in the Indian team just because of his father’s name and fame.
“If you see the bigger picture, Sunil Gavaskar’s son Rohan Gavaskar should have played many ODI and Test match for India because of his father’s name and fame but it wasn’t like that. Even when he played for India, he had performed really well for Bengal in Ranji cricket. In fact, Rohan Gavaskar did not get a place in Mumbai squad even after Gavaskar was added in front of his name, he had to play from Bengal. Same is the case with Arjun Tendulkar, he isn’t getting freebies and no one is telling him that ‘You are Sachin Tendulkar’s son and so join the team immediately’. He is not getting any access to the Indian cricket team.
“The selection has to be backed up by a solid performance. Once in a while it happens, an administrator’s son remained captain of his state team for years, though his batting was not up to the mark. It may happen at domestic level but can not happen at international level. At the end of the day difference between cricket and a lot of industries is that a bowler like Brett Lee, Shoaib Akhtar, Mitchell Starc or Jasprit Bumrah doesn’t think that you are someone’s son while bowling. Nobody will like to select a player who can’t win matches for his team,” Aakash Chopra said.
Notably, Rohan Gavaskar played only 11 ODIs for India in 2004, though he played 117 first-class matches in his career.
Further, Aakash Chopra termed Australia’s Nathan Lyon as the better off-spinner than Ravichandran Ashwin in Test cricket. The former Delhi batsman stated that Lyon bowls well even on good pitches not tailor-made for spinners, while Ashwin runs havoc mostly in favourable conditions. Aakash Chopra also admitted that he is a fan of Nathan Lyon’s “body action” and the way he puts his body behind the deliveries he bowls.
“I am going with Nathan Lyon, especially in the recent past. It is because I like a couple of things about Nathan Lyon. Firstly, I like his body action. He puts the body behind the delivery. He gets good bounce. And in conditions where the pitch is not tailor-made for spin, there also he does very well.”
“If you play Ashwin and Lyon in spin-friendly conditions, say in India, Ashwin will be miles ahead. And he will take wickets quickly and consistently against any opposition team.”
“But Nathan Lyon on good surfaces like South Africa, England or Australia, since he is born and bred in Australia, he knows how to put the body behind the ball. He is also friendly with the Kookaburra ball, so the revs on the ball and all of that, Nathan Lyon does that more,” Chopra added.
Aakash Chopra also gave the reason why leg-spinners don’t get a chance in India’s Test playing eleven. He said that Kuldeep Yadav bowled beautifully against Australia in Sydney in 2019 but he did not get many chances later because Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin don’t allow anyone to grab the place.
“There is a fight for place when there is spot for one spinner, when there is spot for two spinners then Ashwin and Jadeja both play. Playing 3 spinners in the team becomes impossible,” Aakash Chopra said.