Most of the cricket world might swear by the finishing skills of Indian limited-overs captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni but out-of-favour opener Gautam Gambhir feels it is Virat Kohli who deserves the tag of being the side’s finisher.
“It’s a tag given by the media. Virat is a finisher for me. An opener can also be your finisher. It’s not necessary that a finisher would be your number 6 or 7 batsman,” Gambhir said at the ‘Aaj Tak Salaam Cricket’ conclave.
In fact, Gambhir went on to state that Dhoni should be clear about where he wants to bat in the order.
“We have heard him saying that he wants to bat up the order. He has to decide where he wants to bat. What is better for him,” he said adding the stumper-batsman is best suited for number 6 or 7.
He also said that a captain is only as good as the team he leads.
“If only good captaincy wins you World Cups, we would have won more World Cups. We have won only three. A captain can only plan, but the other 10 players have to go out and execute,” he explained.
Talking about the World Twenty20 starting on Tuesday, the Delhi left-hander said it will be crucial for India to have Yuvraj Singh in good form.
“Yuvi has to be at his best.”
On to his own approach to the game, Gambhir said he likes to maintain a calm demeanour but would not shy away from a showdown should the need arise.
The fiery left-hander was seen arguing with Virat Kohli during the 2013 IPL season.
“No one should take comments made on cricket field, personally,” he said.
“I am not there for friendships. If I have to argue again, I won’t be shy. It does not make a difference to me who is playing on other side, whether it is MS (Dhoni) or Virat. If I am captain, the way I play, my team will play the same. If I am subdued, my team will also be subdued. The way the captain plays, the team plays,” Gambhir said.
Speaking of the World T20, Gambhir said New Zealand will be a tough team to beat even without the recently-retired Brendon McCullum.
He also said that playing Australia was actually a bigger challenge than competing against Pakistan even though the clash between the two Asian neighbours is more hyped.
“If you beat Australia in a knockout match, it is likely that you will win the World Cup. Playing them is tougher than playing Pakistan.”
Gambhir, who played a crucial role in India’s victory in the 2011 World Cup, said his views were different from those teammates who said they wanted to win the trophy for Sachin Tendulkar.
“Playing for country itself is a big motivation. Country is much bigger than any individual,” he said, drawing an applause from the audience.
He also said it was difficult to be out of the World Cup team in 2015.
“It was tough to watch it on TV and not defending. But I live in present. When I play Ranji, I want Delhi to win, when I play for KKR, I want my side to win.”