Sunil Gavaskar’s disciplinary action against Dilip Vengsarkar
Caricature: Sudhir Shetty

They played for the same club, same Ranji side, same zonal side and were also shared the dressing room as players. In fact, they even reside in the same building at Worli, Mumbai. However, the relationship between Sunil Gavaskar and Dilip Vengsarkar has seen frictions.

One of the biggest showdowns between the two India greats happened on January 8, 1985 just before Mumbai’s Ranji Trophy match against Baroda at the Wankhede Stadium. Gavaskar, captaining Mumbai, dropped Vengsarkar for reporting late for the match, which left the latter fuming. The disciplinarian that Gavaskar was, he had dropped Ravi Shastri and Raju Kulkarni for the previous game for coming late and he did not want to be accused of double-standards.

Vengsarkar said that he had asked permission from Gavaskar to be late. Which Gavaskar did not deny. “Yes, Dilip did make the request, but I clearly remember telling him to be present at the ground before the toss.

Vengsarkar, however, said Gavaskar never mentioned about the toss.

Gavaskar added in his defence: “If three other players (Shastri, Mohinder Amarnath and Gavaskar himself) who came on the same flight as Dilip can come on time, why not him? And don’t forget, he is a one-down batsman.

The players were coming from Jamshedpur after playing the Ramesh Saxena benefit match. Vengsarkar arrived on the ground when the first over of the match was in progress and did nothing to conceal his anger right through the day. The atmosphere was understandably tense with two of India’s senior most players in a foul mood.