The BCCI announced squads for the upcoming limited-overs series against Sri Lanka on Wednesday but has not clarified if the senior trio of Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul along with Rishabh Pant has been rested or dropped for white-ball series starting January 3.
“There should be clarity. There should be good communication between the selectors and these players. If the selectors have decided to look beyond these guys, so be it. I think a lot of countries have done that,” Gambhir told ESPNcricinfo.
Gambhir wants more clarity when it comes to the status of individual players and their place in the team, but didn’t understand the fuss about dropping of senior players.
“We make too much of a hue and cry when the selectors and management look beyond certain individuals. Ultimately, it’s not about the individuals, but how you want to go about your plans for the next (T20) World Cup (in 2024), because you want to go in there and win it. If these guys haven’t been able to achieve that, I think you never know. People like Suryakumar, the younger generation can go on to achieve that dream,” Gambhir said.
Gambhir though felt that the comeback of the trio in the shortest format looks tough as of now.
“Personally, if you ask me, it looks tough,” Gambhir said. “People like Suryakumar Yadav, Ishan Kishan should all be in the mix. Hardik Pandya is there, I’d like to try to get guys like Prithvi Shaw, Rahul Tripathi and Sanju Samson into the mix. They can play fearless cricket.”
Gambhir also took a dig at the “aggressive template” the current team management headed by Rahul Dravid wanted from the team as mere lip service.
“We’ve spoken so much about the template and stuff going into the previous (T20) World Cup, that we want to play at a certain template, that we want to play aggressive cricket, but when it came to a crunch game (semi-final against England), all that template went out of the window,” Gambhir said.
But the former left-handed batter believes that only the new crop of players can achieve this ‘aggressive’ template.
“Probably, the new generation of cricketers might be able to achieve that template and play the T20 cricket everyone wants India to play. So I feel, if these guys continue to do well in the opportunities they get, it will be difficult for the rest of the guys who have been rested or probably been dropped,” Gambhir added.
Gambhir also believes that Rishabh Pant, who will report to NCA in the first week of January for a strength and conditioning programme, has been dropped from white-ball cricket for his inconsistency and not rested.
“First of all, the selectors need to be very clear if he’s been rested or dropped,” Gambhir said. “According to me, he (must have been) dropped from white-ball cricket. There has never been enough clarity. This word called ‘rest’ is great to have; it wasn’t there when we were playing. Either we were dropped or selected.”
Gambhir wants Ishan Kishan to get his fair share of opportunities.
“Rishabh has got his opportunities in white-ball cricket and hasn’t been able to grab it, and someone else like Ishan Kishan has been able to grab it. So probably now he should just focus on red-ball cricket, and if his turn comes, whenever he gets that opportunity, try and grab it.”
He doesn’t see Pant making a comeback in T20 fold in near future.
“I don’t see that happening in the near future, if Ishan continues to play the way he’s playing. Because we keep talking about that template, but people like Prithvi Shaw, Ishan Kishan, Suryakumar Yadav — that template comes to them naturally.”
(With inputs from PTI)