Pick T20 WC lineup based on IPL says Gautam Gambhir

Gautam Gambhir

Kolkata: Gautam Gambhir, the Knight Riders mentor and front-runner for the Indian team coach’s post, has said that hyping up young Indian players based on specific criteria like bowling speed could “reward” them and “distract” them from working hard. He said that team selection in T20 should be based on IPL performance, but not just batting average or bowling speed.

Gambhir said on the YouTube channel of Indian off-spinner R Ashwin, “In India we have started creating a lot of hype among young players. If someone is bowling 150, everyone gets excited. The point is that you also need to look at the situation. In T20 cricket, average and runs will not have that much impact. When a batsman is selected, it is strike rate and when a bowler is selected, it is to see how many difficult overs he can bowl. This will be the discussion in the next two-three years.” He said, “We keep discussing the number of runs and average, if someone is bowling 150. Many times when you go to West Indies or Bangladesh, you do not need a bowler who bowls at a speed of 150 km. You need a bowler who can bowl cutters. This should be the thinking of the selectors. Sometimes you pick natural talent, but it is not right to create hype after two-three matches, we need a balanced approach.”

“The graph in India goes up and down and that is not good for a young player. This is where experts and commentators need to be balanced when it comes to young players. It is easy for them to get distracted from the hard work and the good work they are doing. Because suddenly when you start talking about a young player doing well, it can backfire on them.

Gambhir also spoke on the importance of domestic cricket and also said that IPL performances should not influence red ball cricket selection.

Gambhir said, “India’s T20 team should be selected on the basis of IPL performance. In the 50-over format, the team should be selected from the Vijay Hazare Trophy and your test team should be based on first-class cricket. If you select for 50-over format or red ball cricket on the basis of IPL tournaments, then it will become a short cut for young players and they will stop focusing on red ball cricket or 50-over format.”

‘Two new balls in ODI cricket is the worst thing in cricket’

The use of two new balls rule was introduced in ODIs in 2011 and Gambhir said that this is the worst thing that has happened to cricket. He also said that due to this, finger spinners like Ashwin and Australia’s Nathan Lyon have gone away from the ODI format.

Gambhir told Ashwin, “The worst thing that has happened in cricket is the introduction of two new balls. You have taken away the whole skill of the finger spinner from the match. You have two new balls, you have five players in, how can you expect a finger spinner to get something out of the pitch and how can you expect a finger spinner to be part of the playing XI?”

He said, “You have kept away two of the best finger spinners in the world, Ashwin and Lyon. That is why you guys are not playing there because there is nothing for you guys there. If you are bowling in the 20th over, you are bowling with a 10 over old ball and there are five players in and the pitch is also flat. There are big batsmen and power hitters, there are also short boundaries and DRS. This is not for you and Lyon. This is the job of the ICC. It is the job of the ICC to promote every kind of bowler who wants to become an off-spinner or a finger spinner. You tell me how many youngsters want to become finger spinners? Off spin or left-arm spin is an art and no one wants to become it because they know that they have no future in white ball cricket.” Gambhir said that ICC should see that they change the ball manufacturers, then change the rule which is affecting the players.

Gambhir said, “I like the format or rule where there is a new ball. This is not the player’s problem. If the ball manufacturers cannot maintain the shape of the ball for 50 overs, then it is better that you change the manufacturer. A ball cannot maintain its color for 50 overs. This is the manufacturer’s problem. When people talk about taking wickets in the middle overs, suddenly they know that only wrist spinners can take wickets. Yes, you have a carrom ball or flipper which can also get wickets but where is the art of pure off spin or left-arm spin or where is the left-arm spinner who can beat in the air or off the wicket?

“Because you do not have help from the wicket and there are five players inside. So I think the ICC will have to think about it and then we can go ahead and play the full 50 overs with one ball.”


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