Adding arguments to the debate over Indian captain Virat Kohli’s paternity leave, which will see the 32-year-old cricketer skip the tour to Australia to be with his wife Anushka Sharma for the birth of their first child in India, expected early January 2021, Former Indian all-rounder and World Cup-winning captain Kapil Dev said, “I 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.”
The former cricketer Kapil was speaking via video conference at HTLS 2020.
Since the time the BCCI granted the right-handed swashbuckling batsman paternity leave, former cricketers have been vocally opposing the decision. VVS Laxman, Sunil Gavaskar, Harbhajan Singh, Ricky Ponting, John Buchannan, Tim Paine, etc. have expressed their views on how Kohli’s early departure will leave plenty to ponder upon for Team India, especially during the four-match Test series.
Kapil Dev further opined, “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.”
During the IPL 2020 edition, Anushka was with the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) camp, under the leadership of Kohli who ended their run in the Eliminator. Meanwhile, Kohli-led India is currently gearing up for the Australia series Down Under, which will commence from 27 November with the three ODIs, followed by an equal number of T20Is and four Tests.
Kohli will leave for India after the conclusion of the first Test, of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy 2020-21, which will be played under lights at the Adelaide Oval, Adelaide.
It may be recalled that while Kapil Dev had been a star of Indian cricket, at home during his prime he was strggling for paternity. While he married Romi Bhatia in 1980, the couple was deprived the happiness of parenting a child until their daughter Amiya Dev was born 16 years later.