Gambhir: ‘Creating hype’ around young India players after two-three games will ‘backfire’

India

Gautam Gambhir has said that “creating hype” around young Indian players based on specific criteria such as bowling speeds can “backfire” and “deviate” them from hard work. The Kolkata Knight Riders mentor, who’s also one of the frontrunners to take up the India coach job, said team selection in T20Is should be based on IPL performances but not solely on batting averages or bowling speeds.

“In India we start creating so much of hype with these young cricketers coming through,” Gambhir said on R Ashwin‘s YouTube channel. “Everyone gets excited if someone is bowling 150 clicks. The point is you need to look at the conditions as well. Going forward in T20 cricket, the average and runs will have no impact. It is the strike rate, when you select a batter, and when you have to select a bowler, it is the kind of tough overs he can bowl. That will be the discussion that will happen in next two or three years.

“We keep talking about the amount of runs and averages, and all that stuff, someone bowling 150s. Sometimes when you go in conditions like West Indies or Bangladesh, you don’t need someone bowling 150. You need someone who bowls cutters as well. That is where the vision lies with the selectors. Sometimes you pick raw talent. But creating so much hype after two or three games, we need to have a balanced approach.

“The graph goes [up and down] in India, and it is not good for a young player. That is where the experts and commentators need to be balanced when it comes to these young players. It is easy for them to get deviated from the hard work and the good things they are doing. Because suddenly when you start talking about a young player doing well, it can backfire for them.

Gambhir emphasised the importance of domestic cricket and added that IPL performances shouldn’t influence selection for red-ball cricket.

“India’s T20I side should be selected from IPL [performances],” Gambhir said. “For 50-over format, it should be selected from Vijay Hazare, and your Test side should be selected from your first-class cricket, red-ball cricket. As simple as that. If you start selecting people for 50-over format or red-ball cricket from an IPL competition, you are making a lot of shortcuts for a lot of these young players to not focus on red-ball cricket or 50-overs format, and you are walking on the edge.”

Gambhir – ‘Two new balls in ODIs the worst thing in cricket’

The introduction of the two new balls rule in ODIs, in 2011, has been “the worst thing” that has happened in cricket, Gambhir said. He also added that the rule has led to fingerspinners fading away, saying that was the reason the likes of Ashwin and Australia’s Nathan Lyon haven’t made it big in the 50-over format then on.

“The worst thing that has happened in cricket is the introduction of two new balls,” Gambhir told Ashwin. “You’ve taken the entire skill of a fingerspinner away from the game, whether it’s a left-arm spinner or offspinner. You’ve got two new balls, you’ve got five fielders inside, how do you expect a fingerspinner to get anything out of a surface and how do you expect a fingerspinner to be included in the playing XI?

“If the ball manufacturer can’t keep the ball in good shape for 50 overs, might as well change the manufacturer. Don’t introduce two new balls because one ball can’t hold whatever colour for 50 overs.”

Gautam Gambhir

“You’ve taken out two of the best fingerspinners in the world – you [Ashwin] and Nathan Lyon. The reason why you guys didn’t play was there was nothing for you guys. If you were bowling the 20th over, you’re bowling with a 10-over new ball, and with five fielders inside and on a flat track. And with big bats, and with power-hitters, and with small boundaries, and with smaller boundaries and on top of that DRS. It’s not about you and Nathan Lyon. It’s about the job of ICC. The job of ICC is that you promote every kind of bowler who wants to become an offspinner and fingerspinner. Tell me how many youngsters going forward want to take up fingerspin? This art of bowling offspin or left-arm spin? No one would want to, because they know they’ve got no future in white-ball cricket.”

Gambhir added that the ICC should have looked to “change the ball manufacturers” than change the rule that has gone on to affect the players.

“I love that format or the rule where you had one new ball. It’s not a player’s problem. If the ball manufacturer can’t keep the ball in good shape for 50 overs, might as well change the manufacturer. Don’t introduce two new balls because one ball can’t hold whatever colour for 50 overs. That’s a manufacturer’s problem. When people talk about taking wickets in the middle innings suddenly they realise that the only wicket-takers could be wristspinners. Unless you’ve got a carom ball or a flicker, but where is the art of bowling genuine offspin or a left-arm spin which can beat people in the air or off the wicket as well?

“Because there’s nothing off the wicket and you’ve got five fielders inside. So I think ICC has messed it up and we can change it going forward and have one ball for entire 50 overs.”

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