Indian cricket icon and World Cup-winning captain Kapil Dev reacted to Virat Kohli’s paternity leave and said that he is happy for the 32-year-old as he is about to assume a new responsibility in life but also pointed out that in the yesteryears it was almost impossible to pull off such a thing.
“Don’t think we could afford to go and come back. That’s for sure. Sunil Gavaskar didn’t see his son for many months. It was a different thing. Look, things change. If I talk about Kohli, when his father died, he came back playing cricket the next day. Today he is taking a leave for his baby. It’s fine, you can afford it,” Kapil said while speaking via video conference at HTLS 2020.
“You can buy a plane and go back and come back again in three days. I feel happy and proud that today sportsmen have reached a level where they can do this. I’m happy for Virat. He’s coming back to see his family. I understand you have passion but the biggest passion is that he’s having a baby,” he said.
Former India batsman VVS Laxman, who missed the birth of his first child while touring South Africa with the Indian team in 2006-07, also said that one must respect the decision.
Kohli will miss three of the four Tests in Australia in December-January to be with his wife, actor Anushka Sharma, as she is expecting their first child around January.
Interestingly, former India captain Sunil Gavaskar feels that Kohli’s absence could actually be good for the Indian players.
“If you actually have a look, India have won every time Virat wasn’t there, be it the Dharamshala Test against Australia, the Afghanistan Test, Nidahas Trophy or the Asia Cup in 2018. Indian players do tend to raise their game when he is not around. They understand they have to make up for his absence,” Gavaskar told TOI on Friday.