Gautam Gambhir has always been an aggressive and outspoken individual, both on the pitch as well as off the cricket field. Now, the former Indian international cricketer has taken a dig at the Indian selectors and called the decision to leave out Ambati Rayudu from India's 15-member ICC World Cup 2019 squad "disgusting".
The five-member selection committee met at Board of Control for Cricket in India's headquarter in Mumbai on April 15 along with Indian skipper Virat Kohli before announcing the squad and Rayudu did not make it in the squad. The direct beneficiary of his exclusion was Vijay Shankar, who has impressed the Indian selectors and the captain in the limited opportunities afforded to him following Hardik Pandya's suspension in January.
"It is disgusting to see that he (Rayudu) is being judged more on his IPL form and less on his overall skill-set. I am not a big fan of statistics as they never tell the whole story," Gambhir wrote in his exclusive column for The Times of India (TOI). It is understood that the captain has the last call with regards to contentious places in a squad and thus Kohli may have played a part in the selection of Vijay Shankar over Rayudu.
Gambhir referenced his leadership call when he had selected Andre Russell to be a part of the Kolkata Knight Riders franchise despite his ordinary record as a part of the Delhi Capitals (then Delhi Daredevils) franchise.
"Before we played him in 2014, Russell had only 58 runs to show in seven games for his earlier franchise Delhi Daredevils (now Delhi Capitals). If these dry numbers were the only criterion, Russell should have been fishing somewhere in Jamaica, In short, Rayudu had a strong case to be in the (World Cup) team," wrote Gambhir.
The former KKR captain was also baffled by the presence of only three specialist seamers in English conditions. "I must say I am surprised by the fact that we are going in with just three specialist fast bowlers. I tried to visit and then revisit this fact but I have still not been able to get my head around these selections. I have always believed that whatever be the format, it is the batsmen who set up the games and bowlers are the ones who win them. Therefore, I feel we are a little light in the fast-bowling department," the 37-year-old wrote.
"To cut a long story short, I would have gone with one more (fast bowler), perhaps Navdeep Saini in place of Vijay," Gambhir concluded.