'Dhoni, Dhawan should have played domestic cricket'

'Dhoni, Dhawan should have played domestic cricket'

Former India opener Gautham Gambhir at the launch of Funngage.com Cricket Scholarship programme in Bengaluru on Tuesday. DH Photo/ Satish Badiger

Being politically correct isn't Gautam Gambhir's cup if tea. If diplomacy were to be a delivery, the former India opener would love to dispatch it over long-off fence. 

It, thus, didn't come as a surprise when he minced no words while questioning Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Shikhar Dhawan decision to skip Ranji Trophy during India's Test series against Australia. While Dhoni has retired from Test cricket, Dhawan had been left out of Test team. They both joined the Indian team for the three-match ODI series in Australia without having played competitive cricket over a month. 

"Absolutely. Why do you skip it?," asked Gambhir here on Tuesday on the sidelines of a launch of a cricket scholarship programme. "Because ultimately you will get confidence by scoring runs, not by hitting the nets. Plus, you have pressure if you are playing for your country. So there’s nothing wrong in coming back and playing domestic cricket, which I think everyone should play."

Gambhir wasn't too impressed with Dhoni's excuse of "taking a younger player's spot" in the side.

"Look, it’s a World Cup year and you’ve got to be in prime form. As simple as it gets," he stressed. "And how do you get back in prime form? For me international cricket is all about delivering, it’s not about match practice. You can’t be thinking, ‘I’m going to come back into form just by playing international cricket.’ The only way everyone has done it is by playing domestic cricket and scoring runs. It’s a World Cup year, so I think the selectors should have made everyone play domestic cricket," he observed.

Though Dhoni won the man of the series award with three fifties after receiving some flak for his rusty show in India's defeat in the first ODI, Dhawan struggled to hit form.

Gambhir, however, felt young star Rishabh Pant has no place in the ODI squad at the moment while backing Dhoni and Dinesh Karthik.

"I don’t think so. They’ve got MS Dhoni there and Dinesh Karthik there. He (Pant) can wait for his opportunity. Obviously, he has done well in Test cricket. He’s doing all the right things. But if you’ve got Dhoni, who’s got man of the series, he deserves to be there now. And it’s so close to the World Cup, you need someone like MS Dhoni, and Dinesh Karthik has been in decent form as well over the last four-five months. The good thing is Rishabh is keeping them on their toes as well, which is always a good sign for Indian cricket, the youngsters are pushing the seniors," he said.




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