“World Cup Far More Important Than IPL”: Gautam Gambhir’s Stern Message To India Stars

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Former India opener Gautam Gambhir feels seniors like captain Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli, who are great players of spin, will play a huge role in the ODI World Cup to be held in the country later this year. Gambhir said India needs to identify fearless players and have a mix of cricketers in the 50-over format. “First, you need to identify players who have this fearless approach and perhaps in a format like 50 overs you need to have a mix of every type of player. There are players who can anchor their innings. There has been a change in roles as well. Huge difference,” Star Sports showed. ‘Road to World Cup Glory’ said Gambhir.

“I think the likes of Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma and all those guys who can make their innings dirty, who can probably play really good spin will play a huge role in the upcoming World Cup.” The cricketer-turned-politician said the introduction of two balls from both ends has changed the template in ODIs.

“At that time we only had one new ball, now we’ve got two new balls with five fielders inside. So, the part-timer’s role has gone out the window. Reverse swing, you don’t see enough. Reverse swing, you’re also for finger spinners. Can’t see enough of the rush,” Gambhir said.

“But, I always feel that when we talk about this new approach, which India always talks about, templates and stuff, you have to identify players who can adapt to those roles or that template very easily.” Gambhir said that to succeed in the ODI World Cup at home, India will have to stick with some of its players and give them a try in the matches.

“If they want to take a break, those who play more than three formats, they can definitely take a break from T20 cricket, but definitely not from the ODI format. They have been able to play together.

“I think the biggest mistake Indian cricket has made in the last two World Cups is that these guys haven’t played enough cricket together. Tell me how many times have we got the best playing 11 in the park? “We did, only during the World Cup we decided to have the best playing 11, but unfortunately That was never the best playing 11,” he said.

Gambhir said Indian cricketers should avoid IPL games if necessary and prioritize 50-over cricket with the World Cup in mind.

“So these guys have to play enough white-ball cricket, especially for the 50-over World Cup whether they want to take a break from T20s or the IPL. 50-overs.

“If the franchises have to suffer, they have to suffer. Indian cricket is the main stakeholder, not the IPL. The IPL is just a by-product. So, if India goes out and wins the World Cup, that will be a bigger compliment. A bigger ring,” he said.

“…If an important player misses IPL games, so be it, because IPL is every year and World Cup is once in four years. So, for me, winning the World Cup is much more important. IPL.”

(Except for the headline, this story was not edited by NDTV staff and appeared on a syndicated feed.)

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