Team India’s outing Down Under so far has comprised of mixed luck, as it is coming off a 1-2 loss in the ODIs, followed by a 2-1 win in the T20Is. As for the ongoing four-Test series for the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, India is off to a rattling start, losing the opening day-night Test in Adelaide within just two and a half days, while former Indian legend Sunil Gavaskar feels something is wrong.

India faces a challenging task to defend its Test title against Australia, it won during its last visit, in 2018-19. However, Gavaskar feels that it is the team management and their concept of coming up with a different treatment for various players that could be hurting the side.

Writing in his column for Sportstar, Gavaskar noted that the Indian management has a long stand of “different rules for different players”. He pointed out that the same treatment level, especially for Ravichandran Ashwin and T Natarajan, seems to be biased and is hurting both the players and the side.

“For far too long, Ashwin has suffered, not for his bowling ability, of which only the churlish will have doubts, but for his forthrightness and speaking his mind at meetings, where most others just nod, even if they don’t agree,” Gavaskar wrote in his column.

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“Any other country would welcome a bowler who has more than 350 Test wickets and not to forget four-Test match centuries, too. However, if Ashwin doesn’t take heaps of wickets in one game, he is invariably sidelined for the next one. That does not happen to established batsmen though. Even if they fail in one game, they get another chance and another and another, but for Ashwin, the rules seem to be different,” he appended.

Gavaskar was also not impressed that Natarajan was treated just as a net bowler during the Tests. He feels that Natarajan has the potential to perform in the longest format too, especially that he is coming off a purple patch in the limited-overs. Furthermore, he also took a dig at skipper Virat Kohli, going on paternity leave, comparing him with Natarajan.

“Another player who will wonder about the rules but, of course, can’t make any noise about it, as he is a newcomer. It is T Natarajan. The left-arm yorker specialist, who made an impressive debut in the T20 and had Hardik Pandya gallantly offering to share the man of the T20 series prize with him, had become a father for the first time, even as the IPL playoffs were going on. He was taken to Australia directly from the UAE and then, looking at his brilliant performances, he was asked to stay on for the Test series, but not as a part of the team, but as a net bowler. Imagine that,” Gavaskar addressed.

“A match-winner, albeit in another format, being asked to be a net bowler. He will thus return home only after the series ends in the third week of January and get to see his daughter for the first time then. And, there is the captain going back after the first Test for the birth of his first child. That’s Indian cricket. Different rules for different people. If you don’t believe me, ask Ravi Ashwin and T Natarajan,” he inscribed.