Gambhir is one of the most successful players to have featured in the Indian T20 league. He also led Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) to two IPL titles in 2012 and 2014. Speaking on the sidelines of the TURF2022 & India Sports Awards of FICCI, the retired cricket praised the cash-rich Indian league.
“IPL is the best thing that to happen to Indian cricket. I can say this with all my senses. There has been lot of backlash regarding IPL since it started. Every time Indian cricket does not do well, the blame comes on IPL, which is not fair. If we don’t perform well in ICC tournaments, blame the players, blame the performance, but it is unfair to point fingers on the IPL,” Gambhir said.
He hailed IPL for providing financial security to players and also the development of the game at the grassroots level. The cricketer-turned-politician explained, “A sportsman can only earn till he is 35-36. IPL provides with financial security which is equally important.”
Gambhir, who is the mentor of the Lucknow Super Giants (LSG) in the IPL, praised BCCI for preferring Indian coaches over foreign coaches to lead the national team in recent years. Claiming that overseas coaches only take up the role for money, he stated, “One good thing that has happen in Indian cricket is that Indians have started coaching the Indian National Cricket team now. I strongly believe Indian should coach the Indian team.
“All these foreign coaches, who we gave a lot of importance to, come here to make money and then they vanish. Emotions are important in sports. The only people who can be emotional about Indian cricket are the ones who have represented their country,” the former opener added.
The 41-year-old further batted for Indian coaches in the IPL as well. Highlighting that Indian coaches are not offered opportunities in overseas leagues like the Big Bash, he said, “I am a mentor of Lucknow Super Giants. One thing I want to change is that I want to see all Indian coaches in IPL. Because no Indian coach gets opportunity in Big Bash or any other foreign leagues.
“India is a superpower in cricket, but our coaches do not get opportunity anywhere. All the foreigners come here and get the top jobs. We are more democratic and flexible than other leagues. We need to give our own people more opportunity,” he added.
Gambhir represented India in 58 Tests, 147 ODIs and 37 T20Is. He also played 154 IPL matches, scoring over 4000 runs.
--By A Cricket Correspondent