New Delhi: Cricketer-turned-politician Gautam Gambhir on Thursday asked the Indian selectors to have a word with wicket-keeper batsman MS Dhoni regarding his future plan.
Dhoni last played for India in the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup, since then he has missed series against Windies and South Africa. The wicket-keeper batsman was criticised for maintaining a slow strike-rate during the World Cup.
"I have always maintained this one thing. Retirement is an individual call, I think for me selectors should talk to him and ask him about his future plan. Ultimately for me, playing for India, you should not be picking and choosing series," Gambhir told reporters.
Wicket-keeper batsman Rishabh Pant who is battling severe criticism for his poor show in the series against South Africa got the backing of Gambhir.
Pant managed to score just 23 runs in two T20Is against Proteas, however, Gambhir said that the player should be given time as Pant is just 21.
"There is too much attention that is being given to a new player. He is just 21, he has played for last two and a half years. He has got two hundreds in Test cricket. We should not be comparing him with anyone, the team management should be backing him in the right way. He is still young and he has got a long future ahead," Gambhir said.
"Team management should talk to Pant. Not just Kohli, Ravi Shastri should also speak to him. Pant should be given freedom, if you curb him, he won't play to his potential. You have to accept that Pant will not always get his shot selection right. On his day, he can win you a game," he added.
The former left-handed batsman vouched for Rohit Sharma opening the batting in the Test format and said that the batsman is too good a player to be sitting on the bench.
"If a player scores 5 hundreds in the World Cup, then he should be given a chance in the Test format. If he is in the Test team, then he must play. A player like should him not warm the bench," Gambhir said.
Prior to the three-match Test series against South Africa, India got a major setback as pacer Jasprit Bumrah was ruled out of the series due to a minor stress fracture in his lower back.
Gambhir said that not having Bumrah will be a major setback as he is the number one bowler in the world.
"He is the number one Test bowler in the world. India will miss him, South Africa is no pushover. It gives an opportunity to Ishant Sharma or Mohammad Shami to play all three Test matches. Not having Bumrah will obviously have an impact on the team," Gambhir said.
Earlier, Gambhir had also stated that the incumbent Indian captain Virat Kohli is able to efficiently lead the Indian cricket team as he has players like Rohit Sharma and MS Dhoni with him in the squad.
He further added that the efficiency of one's captaincy is actually put to test when you lead a franchise in the IPL.
"Still a long way to go for him. Kohli was very good in the last World Cup but he has a long way to go. He captains so well in international cricket because he has got Rohit Sharma, he had MS Dhoni for a long time. Captaincy credentials are noticed when you are leading a franchise, when you do not have other players supporting you," Gambhir had told reporters while interacting with the students of a university.
"I have been honest whenever I have spoken about this. See what Rohit Sharma has achieved for Mumbai Indians, see what Dhoni has achieved for Chennai Super Kings. If you compare that with RCB, the results are there for everyone to see", the BJP lawmaker added.
The left-handed batsman was instrumental in India's World Cup-winning squads. The batsman played match-winning knocks in the T20 World Cup final in 2007 and 50 over World Cup in 2011.
The cricketer announced his retirement in the year 2018 after completing 10,000 runs in List-A cricket.
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