On a day when Indian television channels were giving a broad coverage to Ricky Ponting’s retirement, Gautam Gambhir was bombarded with questions on whether it was time for Sachin Tendulkar to follow the Aussie great’s example.
Gambhir, to his credit, faced these bouncers from hundreds of students with ease in the capital on Thursday. “You can’t compare two different players from two different countries,” he said.
“Each individual knows what’s the best time to retire. Ponting’s retirement doesn’t mean that Sachin should also quit now. It’s an individual decision and you can’t force any player,” Gambhir said.
Gambhir feels that Tendulkar, at 39, can still amass the runs. “His sheer presence in the dressing room itself is a big thing for us. Every player goes through bad patches and Sachin’s phase is not going to last long. He loves playing and it’s a sheer joy to watch India’s greatest cricketer. He is the greatest cricketer India has produced. Not just on the field, as a mentor he contributes off the field too. He still has the capability to make lots of runs for India,” Gambhir said.
Gambhir said Ponting was among Australia’s all-time greats. “He is a legend who played cricket on his own terms and is retiring on his own terms. His record speaks for itself.”
Gambhir also defended MS Dhoni’s decision to opt for rank turners. He said the Indian captain “has the right to ask for his choice of wickets”. “Why are we making it a big issue? A captain should get the wicket he needs and there is nothing wrong it in,” he said.
“We should not criticise our own team too much. We lost because England played good cricket. We should praise the opposition rather than criticise our own players. We must remember that we were the No 1 Test team,” the opener, who was finally among the runs in the second innings of the second Test against England in Mumbai, said.