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‘Stats tell the story’ – Aakash Chopra on nepotism in Indian cricket

by Wisden Staff 2 minute read

Aakash Chopra, the former India opener, has spoken about nepotism in Indian cricket, saying it does exist, but is restricted to the domestic circuit.

Chopra cited the example of Rohan Gavaskar, the son of Sunil Gavaskar, who featured in only 11 ODIs for India. “No [there is no nepotism in Indian cricket],” he said, answering a fan’s question on his YouTube channel.

“If you see the bigger picture – Rohan Gavaskar is Sunil Gavaskar’s son. And just because he was Sunil Gavaskar’s son, he should have played a lot more cricket, many ODIs and Tests for India. But that did not happen.

“And when he played for India, it was because he was consistently doing very well for Bengal. In fact, forget everything, he wasn’t even getting selected in the Mumbai Ranji [Trophy] team. He was not getting a place in the Mumbai team, even though he had the Gavaskar surname.”

Chopra also cited the example of Sachin Tendulkar’s son Arjun. “You can say the same thing about Arjun Tendulkar. He hasn’t been served anything on a platter just because he is Sachin Tendulkar’s son.

“He didn’t get any easy or early access to the Indian cricket team. There was no unnecessary selection to the India Under-19 team. Whenever a player is selected, it was because of sterling performances.”

The 42-year-old admitted that there have been instances of nepotism in domestic cricket. “It does happen once in a while,” Chopra said. “I have encountered it in domestic cricket, where a son was the captain of the state team for a long time. But he was the son of an administrator and ruled the state for a long time, although his batting or his game was not that good.

“To be very honest, the stats tell the story that if you perform at that level, you shouldn’t have played so many matches. It did happen at the domestic level, but at the highest level, there is no compromise.

“Because at the end of the day, the difference between a lot of industries and cricket is that when you face a Brett Lee, Shoaib Akhtar, Jofra Archer, Mitchell Starc or Jasprit Bumrah, they don’t think whose son you are when delivering the ball.

“And you don’t want to select a cricketer who would be detrimental to the team’s cause or doesn’t help you in winning the match. Nepotism in [Indian] cricket is not as relevant or as prevalent as it is in some other industries.”

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