Batting legend Sunil Gavaskar, along with few other Indian cricketers, was invited to the oath-taking ceremony of Imran Khan, once Pakistan’s World Cup-winning captain and now its prime minister-in-waiting.
Gavaskar declined to attend Imran’s swearing-in ceremony due to his commentating commitments during the ongoing England vs India Test series.
The facts, however, were twisted by Indian news channel ‘Times Now’, which claimed Gavaskar put India first by turning down Imran’s invite. “’Desh’ not ‘dost’ priority. Message for Sidhu and Cong. Pro-Imran lobby is on test. Will Sidhu dump Imran too?” the channel tweeted.
The post instantly sparked criticism from social media users who slammed the channel for putting a negative twist on the situation. Journalist Rajdeep Sardesai, who interviewed Gavaskar following Imran’s invitation, called out the channel for its ‘Desh’ narrative.
“Hey @TimesNow Gavaskar in his interview to me said he can’t attend @ImranKhanPTI swearing in because he is doing commentary in England. Nothing to do with this ‘Desh’ bull crap! In fact, Sunny was full of praise for Imran. Watch the interview and stop pushing your toxic agenda!” Sardesai responded.
The journalist also posted a video of his interview with Gavaskar, where the cricketer had explained his reasons for declining the invite. “Yes, I did speak to Imran himself,” Gavaskar had confirmed. “He was inquiring if I’d be able to make it. I said to him that unfortunately because of my commentary commitments I won’t be able to do so. But my best wishes are with him and I’m hoping to see him sooner rather than later.”
“I think I’ve known him for plenty of years. I think it’s a huge moment for the cricketing fraternity that one of theirs has gone on to become the prime minister of a country so I wish him very well,” Gavaskar had continued, adding that Imran has “a wonderful opportunity to set up a completely new beginning as far as India-Pakistan relations are concerned.”
According to media reports, former Indian cricketers Kapil Dev and Navjot Singh Sidhu have accepted Imran’s invitation to attend his oath-taking.