Former India skipper Sunil Gavaskar has hinted at a divide within Team India, saying that the treatment meted out to bowlers like R Ashwin and T Natarajan is biased as there are "different rules for different players".
The former India opener said that Ashwin has suffered within the Indian team because of his forthrightness. He also took a dig at skipper Virat Kohli, who got permission to leave the tour of Australia to attend the birth of his child, while T Natarajan who became father during the IPL playoffs is yet to see his daughter.
"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 for Sportstar.
"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 added.
Gavaskar added that Natarajan has been forced to stay back only as a net bowler, even though the limited-overs series, of which he was a part, ended almost a fortnight back.
"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," wrote Gavaskar.
"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 further wrote.