Gautam Gambhir has played a lot of cricket, even represented the national team - so you'd think that he would understand. He would understand the ups and downs of the game. He would understand the intentions, the struggles. I want to believe that he does, but his words, so often, prove otherwise. Here are a few examples.
1. He recently said that Ajinkya Rahane is "pretty fortunate that he's still part of this side because he's leading". While Rahane's average has been dropping and his form is rightly being questioned, this is no way to talk about a senior batter who has done so much for Indian cricket.
Also, this sort of comment, masked as 'critical analysis', puts the player under a lot of pressure, which can further hamper their performance. Now that he has been chosen in the side, it is the country's duty to stand beside him.
I admit a lot of criticism about Rahane is justified. But why is Gambhir constantly behind him? Is there any history between them? Poora haath dhoke pada hai uske peeche!!— Cricketologist (@AMP86793444) November 23, 2021
Puts the nice guy under lot of pressure.
2. When he made nasty comments about New Zealand after the team's loss to Australia in the T20 World Cup final. Here is his quote:
My favourite side after India (for the T20 World Cup) was New Zealand. Seeing them bullied around like an apprentice wasn’t a pleasant experience
The problem with this kind of language is that it becomes a part of the culture. Seeing a former India great talk like this will make people think that it's okay to do it, and soon we will have toxic opinions floating all around. God knows we have enough of those already. So, if you don't like the performance, criticise it, but give the World Cup finalists the respect they deserve.
3. While appreciating the Indian men's Hockey team for winning the Olympics bronze, he said that it's "bigger than any World Cup".
See, as sports fans, we don't look at things from this perspective. All medals and trophies are equally important to us. And every athlete, whether or not they end up winning, is our pride. We need not create competition between different sports inside our own country. Not ideal.
4. On the anniversary of the 2011 World Cup, ESPN shared the iconic photo of MS Dhoni hitting the winning 6. And this is what Gambhir had to say about it.
No one is saying that it wasn't a team effort. It surely was, and a big contribution came from Gambhir himself. But he needs to realise the symbolism of certain moments in sports. That 6 from Dhoni is symbolic of India's hopes being carried to the sky, leading to realisation of our dreams. We carry that hope in all areas of our lives. Or at least wish to. This is not about taking the credit of the team and giving it to one person.
It is true that GG's 97 in the WC final deserves way more credit than it gets. But, this moment is iconic! Nothing compares. Our generation will never forget it. Not fair to blame @ESPNcricinfo for the tweet. https://t.co/zmYgS5huTB— Sohini M. (@Mittermaniac) April 2, 2020
5. When he indirectly blamed Dhoni for the non-completion of his century in the World Cup 2011 final. Gambhir had scored the match-winning knock of 97.
I remember that after the completion of one over, Dhoni told me that 'three runs are remaining, get these three runs and your hundred would be completed'.Till I was on 97, I was in the present. But as soon as I thought that I am just three runs away from getting a hundred, the rush of blood caused by the desire to get to a hundred took over.
From the looks of it, Dhoni was just trying to motivate him. And yes, it is possible that that had an opposite effect on Gambhir's mind, we are not denying that - but that's not Dhoni's fault, is it? As a captain, he was just telling his teammate how close he is to getting a World Cup century.
A statement like this from Gambhir, almost questioning Dhoni's intention, was not a good look.
There is so much negativity on social media when it comes to cricket, as is. So, our attempt should be to make things as peaceful and respectful as possible. I don't think Gambhir is necessarily serious about this undertaking.