Gautam Gambhir: Feel sorry for Ambati Rayudu
Former India cricketer Gautam Gambhir says Ambati's exclusion from the World Cup team should be debated more than Rishabh Pant's omission
Ambati Rayudu's omission from India's World Cup squad after just three failures is "heartbreaking" but there should be no debate on Rishabh Pant's exclusion as he didn't grab his chances, feels former India opener Gautam Gambhir.
Veteran Dinesh Karthik being favoured over Pant has been widely criticised with even Sunil Gavaskar calling it a surprising move. But the hero of the 2007 World T20 and 2011 World Cup final said Rayudu not making the cut is the most unfortunate bit about the squad announced on Monday. "I think there should be no debate about Rishabh Pant's exclusion but more about Ambati Rayudu," Gambhir told PTI during an interview here yesterday.
Gambhir and Rishabh Pant
"It is very, very unfortunate that someone averaging 48 in white-ball cricket and is only 33 has been left out. That for me is more heartbreaking than any other selection decision," said the outspoken Gambhir.
Rayudu was called India's first-choice No. 4 by captain Virat Kohli a few months ago but low scores in the home series against Australia last month led to a rethink by the selectors. Gambhir has been through a similar experience when he was not picked for the 2007 World Cup in the West Indies and for a brief period contemplated quitting.
"I feel sorry for him as I was in a similar position in 2007, when they [selectors] didn't pick me and I know how difficult it is not being picked for the World Cup. Ultimately, for any young kid, it is a childhood dream to be a part of the big event. So, I feel more sorry for Rayudu more than any other cricketer, who hasn't been picked."
However, Gambhir, who has been Pant's first first-class captain, felt that this omission can't be termed a setback at all as he had not grabbed the opportunities presented before him. "This is not a setback at all. Why is it a setback? He has not consistently been part of white-ball cricket. He got his opportunity but unfortunately couldn't grab it. So it cannot be termed a setback. He [Pant] is playing Test cricket. He should be happy about it," said Gambhir.
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