‘Australians had told me to get lost’ – Sunil Gavaskar opens up on the infamous walkout incident in 1981
The 1981 series between India and Australia is majorly remembered for a wrong umpiring decision by the on-field umpire Rex Whitehead that had caused all the ruckus on the field.
Updated - Jan 1, 2021 8:12 pm
The infamous walkout incident at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) had caused a huge controversy back in 1981 during the India tour of Australia. It was believed that the captain Sunil Gavaskar had decided to walk-out as he wasn’t satisfied with the decision made by the umpire. However, after four decades, the former captain cleared that he had decided to leave the match mid-way after the Australian players had disrespected him by saying “get lost”
The 1981 series between India and Australia is majorly remembered for a wrong umpiring decision by the on-field umpire Rex Whitehead that had caused all the ruckus on the field. The whole scandal commenced with the bowler Dennis Lillee bowling an in-cutter that caught Gavaskar plumb in front.
Umpire Rex gave his decision of lbw in the favour of the bowling side, however, the decision was outrageously opposed by Gavaskar who was firm that the ball had got his bat on the way to the pad. The Indian captain had made his disagreement quite visible by standing on the ground for a long time as a protest.
Sunil Gavaskar finally clears the air regarding his walkout decision
However, after a few minutes, the opening batsman decided to leave the ground but he was left fuming when he heard a comment made by one of the Australian players. In anger, Gavaskar walked back to the field and asked his batting partner Chetan Chauhan to walk with him.
Though Chetan was bemused, he decided to obey his captain and started to leave the ground. However, the two batsmen met team manager Shahid Durrani and assistant manager, Bapu Nadkarni, on the boundary rope. The management members somehow managed to convince Gavaskar to let Chetan go back to the field.
“The misconception is that I was upset at the lbw decision. Yes, it was upsetting. But the walk-off happened only because, as I had gone past Chetan (Chauhan) on the way to the change-rooms, the Australians had given me a spray. They told me to get lost, which is where I’ve come back and asked Chetan to walk off with me,” Sunil Gavaskar revealed.
“I got an inside-edge as you can see from the forward short leg fielder. He hasn’t done anything, he hasn’t moved. Dennis (Lillee) is telling me, “It hit you there,” and I’m trying to say, “No I hit it.” And now you see, I’ve asked Chetan to walk off with me,” said the former India captain narrating the incident on 7 Cricket as it was played out for him.