India discard Gautam Gambhir on the upcoming India-New Zealand series, on the use of pink ball in Tests and missing out on India team selection
Out-of-favour India opener Gautam Gambhir feels spinners will decide the fate of the upcoming three-match Test series between India and New Zealand, starting in Kanpur on September 22.
Warning the home team against taking New Zealand lightly, Gambhir said both India and New Zealand have fielded good spinners in their squad and they are expected play key role in the series.
"New Zealand has always been a very gritty kind of a side. They have always been underdogs, no one rates them very highly but they have always done well in every conditions," Gambhir said on Thursday.
"They have got a good squad. They have got three spinners (in Mitchell Santner, Ish Sodhi and Mark Craig) and spinners of whichever sides bowl well it will eventually decide the series," Gambhir said on the sidelines of the launch of a talent hunt programme, Indian Junior Players League (IJPL), of which he is the brand ambassador.
Gambhir scored 320 runs at an average of 80 per innings in the recently-concluded Duleep Trophy to lead India Blue to the title with consummate ease. But despite his exploits with the bat, the selectors once again ignored him when they picked up the 15-member squad for the upcoming series against New Zealand.
Asked Gambhir about the recent snub, the aggressive left-handed batsman curtly said: "I don't play for selection, honestly. Ultimately my job is to score runs and that is what I focus on.
"You should just go out there and look to control things which you can control, rest is selectors’ job. Whatever the selectors decide it is their opinion. My job is to go out there and help my team in winning."
Gambhir reiterated that he is a "traditionalist" and is not in favour of any tinkering with Test cricket. He said Test cricket should be left as it is and any experimentation with pink balls should be carried out only in T20 and ODI cricket. "I totally believe that just to attract crowd we don't need to shift to pink balls from red balls unless you think red ball cricket is not producing results.
"Now-a-days we hardly get to see a drawn Test. Test cricket is a traditional format and it should left as it is. You can experiment pink balls in T20, ODIs, there is no harm in it," he said.