In his column for the Times of India, Gambhir wrote, “Back in the time when I was an active cricketer, I used to write this column in shorts, between ice baths, shunting from physio’s room to hotel gym. Now, as a retired cricketer-turned-commentator, I do it in a pleasant 18-degree centigrade studio of Star Sports. During my days as KKR captain, I was once told about the idea of captaining a cricket team from a dug out. Sitting at Hotel ITC Sonar in Kolkata, I was about to dig into my favourite Mysore Masala Dosa when the subject was thrown at me. Normally, I can’t hide my emotions but thanks to the Dosa, I could manage getting drawn into the subject. But I sense that something similar is going on in some IPL teams. I may have to stand corrected, but it seems to be the case when Delhi Capitals are in delicate moments of a contest.”
Gambhir is of the view that Delhi Capitals captain Rishabh Pant erred in asking Avesh Khan bowl the 19th over in Qualifier 1 against Chennai Super Kings. Though he dismissed CSK opener Ruturaj Gaikwad, Avesh conceded 11 runs in the over.
“For example, during their game against Chennai Super Kings in Qualifier 1, it seemed that instructions were flowing thick and fast from the dugout. After 18 overs, CSK needed 24 runs off the last two. In such a situation, the penultimate over becomes more important than the last one. Avesh Khan was hit for a last-ball six in the previous game against RCB. It was obvious that his confidence would not be high. But Rishabh still gave him the ball to bowl the penultimate over. I would have gone with Rabada,” Gambhir added.
Gambhir, who led KKR to two IPL titles in 2012 and 2014, feels that DC spinner Ravichandran Ashwin needs to bowl his full repertoire of deliveries in Qualifier 2.
“I also felt R Ashwin didn’t have a good day against CSK. At one point, he just bowled carom balls, whereas he should have stuck to normal off-spin. For DC to succeed against KKR in Qualifier 2, Ashwin is the key as he is a man with 400 Test wickets. Besides, there are plenty of left-handers in the KKR team – Narine, Morgan, Nitish and Shakib. DC need an aggressive Ashwin,” Gambhir wrote.
Royal Challengers Bangalore crashed out of IPL 2021 after losing the Eliminator against KKR by four wickets in Sharjah with Virat Kohli bowing out as leader of the franchise that has never won the IPL trophy.
“RCB did most things right in the Eliminator. I thought their batters got out at the wrong time. Chasing was my option too as captain. Yes, the wicket was slow but with international stalwarts like Kohli and De Villiers in the ranks it should have been easy. Ideally, Kohli should have anchored the innings. Going into the next auction they will have to work really hard as the previous regime has left nothing of note as legacy. There are no leaders, no good batsmen, apart from Kohli and may be Chahal as a bowling option worth retaining,” Gambhir signed off.