Revisit two new-ball rule, it’s ‘unfair’ to finger spinners, Gambhir urges ICC

PTI, Jun 22, 2024, 9:03 AM IST

Kolkata: Former India opener Gautam Gambhir on Friday urged the International Cricket Council (ICC) to revisit the two new-ball rule in limited over formats, and the World Cup-winner termed it as “unfair” to finger spinners.

The ICC had implemented the particular rule in ODIs in October 2011, something the legendary Sachin Tendular had rated as “perfect recipe for disaster.” “One thing I would definitely change is the use of two new balls, especially in white-ball cricket,” Gambhir said during the ‘Rise to Leadership’ talk show by the Indian Chamber of Commerce here.

The stipulation to use two new balls, several experts felt, has disadvantaged finger spinners and reduced the chances of reverse swing as it helps the ball to retain the shine.

“It is very unfair for finger spinners, who are not playing enough white-ball cricket because there is nothing for them. It is not right.

“The ICC’s job is to ensure that everyone, whether a finger spinner, fast bowler, wrist spinner, or batter, has an equal opportunity to showcase their talents,” said Gambhir, who recently mentored Kolkata Knight Riders during their run to the third IPL title.

Gambhir is also viewed as the frontrunner to become next India coach following Rahul Dravid’s exit after the ongoing T20 World Cup.

The two-time IPL winning former skipper asked the ICC to have a review of the rule.

“Taking that opportunity away from certain players is very unfair. Today, you hardly see any finger spinners playing white-ball cricket. Why? The blame lies not with them, but with the ICC.

“There is no reverse swing anymore because of the two new balls, and there is nothing for finger spinners or left-arm spinners.

“This is something I would want to change, and hopefully, it will change to create a balance between bat and ball,” added Gambhir.

Gambhir, who played under various captains, refrained from naming the best skipper, but hailed MS Dhoni and said the best phase of his career was under him.

“This is such a controversial question. I honestly don’t want to give headlines, everyone had their strength and weaknesses. I made my Test debut under Rahul Dravid and ODI under (Sourav) Ganguly.

“I had my best performance under Anil Kumble and I had my phase under MS Dhoni, and the longest I played was under MS. I enjoyed playing a lot with MS and the way he led the team,” he said.

Gambhir also hailed Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan as the best team owner in the IPL.

“I had the privilege of working with the best IPL owner.”

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