To be with his wife Anushka Sharma who's due to welcome the couple's first child, Virat Kohli, the current India skipper, has been granted paternity leave by the BCCI ahead of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.
India will play three ODIs, as many T20Is, and then play four Tests. The series has already begun on November 27 in Sydney with the first ODI and the much-awaited Test series is set to start from December 17 with the Day/Night contest at Adelaide.
Kohli, after leading India in the first Test at Adelaide, will head back home, leaving a huge void to fill. The BCCI's announcement of granting paternity leave to the skipper has drawn mixed reactions so far. While some have lauded Kohli for his decision to be with his wife during this 'special' moment, a few have questioned India's calibre to deliver in the remaining three Tests, especially when Rohit Sharma's availability looks bleak. Ajinkya Rahane is likely to lead the side in Kohli's truancy.
Meanwhile, legendary India opener Sunil Gavaskar has clarified that he had not asked for paternity leave from the board back in 1975-76 when India was playing against West Indies. When many former cricketers were sharing their opinion over Kohli's decision to head back home, Kapil Dev, former India skipper, had recalled that Gavaskar didn't see his son for many months, leading to many fans to believe that the BCCI had refused to grant Gavaskar a paternity leave.
Reports suggested that the BCCI had denied Gavaskar's request to head back home. Clarifying the matter, Gavaskar has said that he was committed to playing for India and his wife also backed him at that time.
“While this is correct, the circumstances of that request were not quite made clear and so, here is an attempt to put the record straight,” Gavaskar wrote in his column for Mid-day.
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“Firstly, I did not ask permission to return to be by my wife’s side for the birth. When I left with the Indian team for the (1975-76) twin tour of New Zealand and the West Indies, I was aware that the baby would come while I was away. I was committed to playing for India and my wife backed me to the hilt.”
"The doctors advised a four-week break from the game for recovery. The next Test match was in the West Indies in about three weeks and since I wasn't going to be able to play in the interim, I asked our manager, the legendary Polly Umrigar, if I could go back at my own expense for a few days and rejoin the team in the West Indies well ahead of the First Test. So there was no question of me missing a Test match other than for injury. In fact, I played the first Test despite the doctor having advised another week's rest," Gavaskar wrote.