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“There was a furore in the dressing room”: How a harmless push to Sunil Gavaskar handed English pacer John Snow one-match ban in 1971

Gurpreet Singh
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"There was a furore in the dressing room": How a harmless push to Sunil Gavaskar handed English pacer John Snow one-match ban in 1971

Around 50 years ago at the home of Cricket – the iconic Lord’s Cricket Ground in the year 1971, a seemingly harmless push in a bid to run a batter Out handed the bowler one-match suspension, taking the ‘Gentlemen’s game’ adage way too seriously.

Under skipper Ajit Wadekar, the legendary batter Sunil Gavaskar, who was just five Test matches old back then was involved in an incident which as per today’s standards would have been termed as a healthy brand of aggressive Cricket.

ALSO READ: How an umpiring error helped Sunil Gavaskar score first runs in Test cricket

It was the final Day of the match with India needing 183 runs to win their first-ever Test on English soil. Before the Lunch Break, with the scorecard reading 47/2, Farokh Engineer bat-paded a pacey delivery bowled by English pacer John Snow towards the forward Short Leg region.

Engineer and Gavaskar (at the other end) communicated via their eyes and set off for a risky single.

A push to Sunil Gavaskar handed John Snow one-match ban

With Gavaskar desperately setting off for the single, and Snow eager to get hold of the ball before the former makes his ground, the duo barged into each other. The replay suggested that Snow did push Gavaskar, enough for him to fall over due to his momentum while losing the bat in hand as well in the process.

Snow then sort of flung the bat towards him after he made his to the crease, instead of expressing his concern regarding his well being.

The entire incident invited harshest of criticisms from the English purists. While Snow agreed to apologize to Gavaskar straightaway post the Lunch Break, a couple of people from the authority entered the dressing room with their criticisms, angering Snow and the England skipper as well. A livid Snow then decided against apologizing to Gavaskar, thereby further aggravating the matter.

Resultantly, he was handed a one-match ban, and had to miss the following Test match at Manchester.

“I was just trying to pick up the ball to run him out. I apologized to Sunil, but there was a furore in the dressing room because I did not go down to the Indian dressing room to apologize which I told Alec Bedser [chairman of selectors] I would do. We [Gavaskar and him] were over with it but on a public basis, it was not desirable to cricket,” John Snow would later remark during an interaction with mid-day, in 2001.

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About the author

Gurpreet Singh

Gurpreet Singh

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Gurpreet Singh is a Cricket writer at The Sportsrush. His platonic relationship with sports had always been there since childhood, but Cricket managed to strike a special, intimate nerve of his heart. Although his initial dream of playing the sport at the highest level couldn't come to fruition, Gurpreet did represent the state of Jharkhand at the under-14 level. However, almost like taking a pledge to never let the undying passion for Cricket fade away even a tad, he made sure to continue the love relationship by assigning the field of journalism as an indirect Cupid. He thus, first finished his bachelor's in journalism and then pursued the PG Diploma course in English journalism from the Indian Institute of Mass Communication (IIMC). Soon after and since 2019, he has been working at The Sportsrush. Apart from sports, he takes keen interest in politics, and in understanding women and gender-related issues.

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