'I'd be very upset if my generation was being talked about as being bullied. If you have a look at the record, in 1971 we won, that was my first tour in England.'
The legendary Sunil Gavaskar rebuked former England captain Nasser Hussain on Wednesday for his assertion that Indian cricket teams of the bygone era were easily bullied unlike the current side, under Virat Kohli.
Gavaskar, the first man to score 10,000 Test runs and someone who toured England five times in his international career (1971, 1974, 1979, 1982, 1986), told Hussain that he would be "very upset" if his generation of cricketers were termed as ones who were "bullied".
Gavaskar and Hussain had an on-air debate on Sony over a column that Hussain wrote in a British newspaper, in which he said that Indian teams of the past weren't as tough as this unit, which is leading England 1-0 in the ongoing series.
"You said this... India will not be bullied as perhaps the previous generations would be. Belonging to previous generation, could you perhaps enlighten which generation? And what is the exact meaning of bully?" Gavaskar, also a former India captain, asked Hussain on air.
Hussain, a respected voice in world cricket, tried to explain what he meant in his column, which wasn't very different from what Gavaskar had assumed.
"I just think, the Indian side under the aggression of the past, would have said 'no no no'. But what Kohli has done is to make them go doubly hard.
"I saw a little bit of that in Sourav Ganguly's side and he started that; Virat is continuing with it. Even when Virat was not there, Ajinkya (Rahane) really went hard at the Australians. I just don't think you want to wake this Indian side up," Hussain replied.
Gavaskar dismissed Hussain's claims with some data.
"But when you say previous generations were bullied, I don't think so. I'd be very upset if my generation was being talked about as being bullied. If you have a look at the record, in 1971 we won, that was my first tour in England.
"(In) 1974, we had internal problems so we lost 3-0. (In) 1979, we lost 1-0; it could have been 1-1 if we chased down 438 at the Oval (match ended with India stranded at 429 for 8).
"(In) 1982, we again lost 1-0. In 1986 we won 2-0; we could have won it 3-0. So, I don't think my generation were bullied."
While Kohli's verbal duels with the Englishmen did get a lot of traction, Gavaskar feels that being aggressive doesn't necessarily have to be "in your face".
"I don't think aggression means you have always got to be at the face of the opposition. You can show passion, you can show your commitment towards your team without yelling after each fall of wicket," Gavaskar said without taking Kohli's name.