Gautam Gambhir has blamed Delhi coach KP Bhaskar for creating a ‘sense of insecurity’ in the dressing room, especially among the younger cricketers, and said he had questioned the coach’s selection policies at the end of a forgettable season for Delhi.
The side led by 19-year-old Rishabh Pant beat Uttar Pradesh in their final group game in Bhubaneswar on Monday but failed to make the quarterfinals of the Vijay Hazare Trophy.
The opener also said that Bhaskar, who was appointed at the start of the season, was trying to put the blame on young players for the underwhelming performance of the team, which had resulted in a crisis of confidence for cricketers like Unmukt Chand and Nitish Rana, both 23.
“Bhaskar is only trying to save his job. As a coach, has he put his hand up and said ‘even I am to blame’? Instead, he has made young players insecure. He is trying to pass the buck. This is not acceptable,” Gambhir told The Indian Express on Tuesday.
He highlighted the case of two players, Unmukt and Nitish, both of whom were dropped from the side during the season. Unmukt had captained Delhi during the 2016-17 season, when Gambhir was on India duty, but was dropped for the Vijay Hazare one-day tournament after a series of low scores during the domestic T20 competition. However, Unmukt was recalled for the last two games of the tournament.
“Unmukt Chand captained India A 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. Nitish Rana was part of the Duleep Trophy and also played in the IPL, but suddenly after a few bad games you send him back. How will these two cricketers feel? The youngsters in the team are insecure and being a senior player, I had to stand up for them. I wanted to tell the coach that what he was doing was not right and so I decided to do so,” Gambhir said.
The 35-year-old who has played 58 Tests for India admitted that an argument between him and the coach took place on Monday, at the end of the Vijay Hazare Trophy game against Uttar Pradesh,
but made it clear that he didn’t use any expletives.
“There was an argument between me and Bhaskar but it is ridiculous to suggest that I used any bad language. There was a difference of opinion but what is not correct is that such incidents, which happen in a dressing room, get leaked outside. What happens in the dressing room must stay in the dressing room. That is how it has always been,” Gambhir said.
Recalling earlier instances of arguments over cricketing matters in the Delhi dressing room, Gambhir said that it was commonplace but what was different this time was that it got passed on to the media.
“Viru (Virender Sehwag) and I have had a difference of opinion and it has been expressed in the dressing room. This is not the first time I have had an argument with a coach. It has happened when Vijay Dahiya was the coach and when Sanjeev Sharma was the coach. If you don’t have different opinons in a dressing room, how will a team grow?” Gambhir asked.