Former India captain Gautam Gambhir said Delhi chief coach KP Bhaskar has made talented youngsters “so insecure” that he was left with no option but to ask him a few tough questions.
A media report accused Gambhir of engaging in an ugly confrontation with Bhaskar which the two-time World Cup winner rubbished. But Gambhir did not deny that he had asked questions after Delhi’s disastrous home season under Bhaskar.
“If protecting a youngster is a crime, I am guilty. If making 20-22 year olds feel secure in an insecure environment is a crime, then I am guilty. But I could not have let this man (Bhaskar) play with careers of young players like Unmukt Chand and Nitish Rana,” Gambhir told PTI in a no-holds barred interview at his residence today.
“Dressing room is a private environment. It’s like a bedroom. There may be many discussions but that’s not supposed to be discussed with media. I never spoke what all he (Bhaskar) said after we lost a T20 match in Himachal as to what laurels he had brought to Delhi cricket and where these youngsters are taking it to? Is it how you deal with youngsters?” questioned Gambhir, who has played 242 international matches for the country across three formats.
“I know how to deal with people. Lot of things have been said about him, about how I abused this man or that man. Lot of things are blown out of proportion,” Gambhir said.
“For last three years, I have been trying to give security to these young players who are all 23 or 24. There has been a culture in Delhi cricket about making players insecure. I have myself faced that when I was a youngster.
When I got into the Ranji Trophy team, I was made to feel insecure. Then only I had decided, if I ever take charge I will never make young boys feel insecure.
“I backed certain boys for 2-3 years as these were the best boys to back. It is irrelevant from which club they come and we need to get this culture out of the way,” said Gambhir.
Talk about Bhaskar’s ways of dealing, Gambhir took an exception to how Unmukt Chand and Nitish Rana were treated when one was sent home after three bad games and the other dropped after captaining the state in a four-day game only to be called for the last two matches.
“Look at somebody like Unmukt Chand. He was an India A captain recently, captained Delhi when I wasn’t a part of the team. Suddenly you don’t even pick him for Delhi’s one day side. Look where you have got his career to. Look at Nitish Rana, he played Duleep Trophy, he has played IPL for Mumbai Indians and suddenly three bad one-day games, you send him back,” he sounded perplexed.
“I don’t have problems with people being dropped from the playing XI but don’t send them back. Look how insecure they will feel when they come back next into the side. How much insecurity have you put in Unmukt and Nitish’s mind? They are 23-year-olds for God’s sake.
“Delhi doesn’t have a good cricketing structure and already players feel they are one match away from getting dropped. I told Bhaskar throughout the season, just don’t make players this insecure,” said Gambhir.
Not one to mince his words, Gambhir said he was not even told by selectors Atul Wassan, Nikhil Chopra and Robin Singh Junior about being removed from captaincy.
Asked whether he will speak to selectors, Gambhir was sarcastic.
“Who are selectors? None of the selectors watched a single game. They don’t come to the nets. They only come to the nets just one day before the meeting. One selector is busy appearing on channels and other busy partying. What is there to talk to them. Had they been this loyal to Delhi cricket, they should have watched games and not just come to drop players.”
Gambhir’s reference was towards Nikhil Chopra and Atul