I hope IPL is not a shortcut to play for India, says Gambhir


PTI, May 21, 2024, 8:17 AM IST

Credit: PTI photo

Chennai: Former India opener Gautam Gambhir loves the IPL, and the quality of cricket it produces, but doesn’t want the franchise-based T20 league to become the pathway to the Indian team for youngsters.

Speaking on Ravichandran Ashwin’s YouTube show, ‘Kutti Stories with Ash’, Gambhir said, “The bigger concern that arises is about how many youngsters want to play Test cricket for India. I hope the IPL is not a shortcut to play for India.”

The Kolkata Knight Riders team mentor also asserted that the IPL has benefitted the Indian domestic cricketers.

“Today, when I look at international T20 sides, apart from 2-3 teams, I don’t see enough competition when it comes to playing for India,” he said.

“Not many teams can match the quality that India has. So, I feel that in today’s day and age, IPL has become far more competitive than international T20 cricket.

“Just the quality of the domestic players has changed, the way domestic players want to play in the IPL and the way they work around T20 cricket — I think most of their focus is on playing T20 cricket.”

Gambhir, who helped India win the ODI World Cup final in 2011 alongside MS Dhoni and led KKR to twin Indian Premier League titles in 2012 and 2014, returned to the side as the team mentor this season.

The 42-year-old is known for his outspoken attitude and serious demeanour.

Speaking on the same, Gambhir said, “I’m not breaking any rules. I want to be as aggressive as I can be. And what’s wrong with that?

“That’s my nature. That’s my characteristic because, for me, winning, it’s an obsession, and I’m obsessed with winning. That’s the problem I have.”

Gambhir also clarified that he doesn’t need to smile since the fans come to watch him help the team win and that all he cares about is his players giving their 100% on the field.

“Sometimes when people talk about – he doesn’t smile or love. He’s always intense, grumpy, walking on the edge, old and has his game face on,” he said.

“People don’t come to watch me smile. Unfortunately, people come to watch me win. That’s the kind of profession we guys are in. I can’t help it.”

“I’m not an entertainment. I’m not a Bollywood actor, or I’m not a corporate. I’m a cricketer into performing art.

“My job is I want to come back in a winning dressing room. Fortunately, unfortunately, a winning dressing room is a happy dressing room.”

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