Gautam Gambhir's uncomplimentary comments towards his former captain MS Dhoni have been coming quite regularly. Be it the indirect criticism of his biopic or picking Sanju Samson over him as the best keeper-batsman in India, Gambhir has let his uncharitable view of Dhoni be known to all.
Now, in an all new attack, the former India opener has blamed, though not in a direct manner, MSD for falling three runs short of a hundred in the 2011 ICC Cricket World Cup final, against Sri Lanka.
In that famous game, Gambhir was dismissed for 97 when he came down the wicket and was beaten by a delivery that went on to hit his stumps. In the same match, MS Dhoni remained not out on 91 and won the man of the match award.
Speaking to a news website, the former left-handed batsman said that it was his captain who took his mind away from the target they were chasing and got him to worry about his individual milestone.
When he was asked about his feelings on being overshadowed by MS Dhoni in the World Cup final and Irfan Pathan in the 2007 World T20 final – both players being given the man of the match awards – despite having been the top scorer in both games, the cricketer-turned-MP gave a candid reply.
"If I tell you the exact truth, I also feel bad about it... It's because you work hard your entire life not only to score runs for yourself... When I was growing up, my dream was to win the World Cup for the country and I got two such opportunities when I played the World Cup finals and I was the top-scorer in both of them...
"If you ask any player that if you perform on such a big stage and become the highest run-getter, if despite that you don't win the man of the match award, somewhere, it is heartbreaking," the former Kolkata Knight Riders captain told Lallantop.
But when Gambhir was asked specifically about the shot that got him out in the World Cup final, he narrated his version of the story.
"I have been asked this question many times, what happened when I was on 97. I tell every youngster and every person that, before getting to 97, I never thought about my own individual score but looked at the target set by Sri Lanka. I remember that when an over was completed, I and MS Dhoni were at the crease.
"He told me that 'these three runs are remaining, get these three runs and your hundred would be completed.' Suddenly, when your mind turns to your individual performance, individual score, then, somewhere, you have a rush of blood. Before this moment, my target was only to chase Sri Lanka's target. If only that target remained in my mind, maybe, I would have easily scored my hundred.
"That's why... till I was on 97, I was in the present, but as soon as I thought, I am three runs away from getting a hundred, then that rush of blood caused by the desire to get to a hundred (took over). That's why it's so important to remain in the present... when I was walking back to the dressing room after being dismissed, I said to myself that these three runs would trouble me for the rest of my life and that is true. Even to this day, people ask me why I couldn't get those three runs."
So, in a way, Gambhir is blaming Dhoni for remining him of his personal milestone and derailing his innings. One wonders whether this made him not like MSD even more?