Gautam Gambhir is one of the finest batsmen to have played for India    IANS
Gautam Gambhir is one of the finest batsmen to have played for India IANS

Sourav Ganguly recently called for Gautam Gambhir’s selection in India’s ICC Champions Trophy 2017 squad. The experienced southpaw, who made a Test comeback to the national side in 2016-17 before fading away, has been in rich form in the 10th edition of Indian Premier League (IPL). Gambhir has slammed 411 runs in IPL 2017 at 51.37 with a strike rate touching 135 before Kolkata Knight Riders’ (KKR) away game against Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB). Gambhir, who has last played an ODI in 2013, believes it would be “selfish” of him to think of Champions Trophy selection during the ongoing IPL. He also made it clear that good form in T20 cricket should not be given enough weightage for ODI selection.

In an interview with ESPNCricinfo, Gambhir said, “T20 runs should only be a criteria to get selected for a T20 side. The moment you start picking players in the one-day format by their T20 performance, then you are giving your domestic 50-over competitions absolutely no relevance.”

Gambhir is one of the most successful cricketers in the IPL and has a task in hand to lead KKR to their third tournament title. He asserts that he likes to live in the present and performing for KKR in order to seal a Champions Trophy berth would be “very selfish”. ALSO READ: The way Gautam Gambhir runs Kolkata Knight Riders is superb, says Shakib Al Hasan

“I could have said that yes, I hope I’m in contention. But I have generally not thought about it. I am someone who tries a lot to stay in the present. The moment I start thinking about me scoring runs to be part of the Champions Trophy team, it would be a very, very selfish thing to do. And being a leader you can’t do that. If I start thinking on those lines, there may be so many other guys in the [KKR] team who would be thinking of being in the Champions Trophy squad too and they would be thinking about their own individual performances then. That is not right. You should always stay in the present. Rest of the things are by-products – if it happens, it happens. If it does not happen, it is fine. Ultimately I don’t play to get selected, I play to win a game of cricket,” Gambhir added making a bold statement.

Gambhir has been in the news of late for all the good reasons. He has been vocal against terrorism in India and recently won hearts by announcing that he would donate all his IPL-award money this season to the families of slain CRPF officials who were killed in Sukma attack. Gambhir did not stop there and further announced that his foundation would be taking care of the education of the CRPF martyr’s children. READ MORE: Gautam Gambhir not the friendliest from Team India, states Shahid Afridi

Though Gambhir still hopes to make an international comeback and hopes for a slot in Champions Trophy, he makes it clear that the skill-set required to succeed in each of the three formats is different.

Gambhir feels one needs to be much more fearless in the T20 format and the demands of the 50-over game is vastly different and demands a tighter technique.”The moment you start picking players in the one-day format by their T20 performance, then you are giving your domestic 50-over competitions absolutely no relevance,” added Gambhir.

With KL Rahul injured and a dip in Ajinkya Rahane’s form, there is a big chance that Gambhir’s name will be discussed when selectors meet on Monday, May 8. If selectors go by Gambhir’s criteria then it is difficult for the 35-year-old to make a return as he did not set things rolling in the Vijay Hazare Trophy 2016-17. He managed 166 runs at just over 33 in India’s premier List A domestic tournament.

Being one of the senior most cricketers around the country, Gambhir has seen enough to sulk at snubs. “I still play cricket. I still enjoy winning games. That is all that matters to me. That is what gives me happiness,” said the straightforward KKR skipper.

Gambhir’s biggest moment as a cricketer in the 50-over format came when he top scored in the ICC World Cup 2011 final, against Sri Lanka. His watchful 97 and his partnership of 109 runs for the fourth wicket with MS Dhoni (91*) did the job for India as they lifted the game’s most-coveted trophy after a gap of 28 years.