safari staff
29 Dec 2022 | 02:07 PM

It's okay if selectors move on from Rahul, Rohit and Kohli, says Gambhir

The former opener felt that the senior trio might not be a good fit for the 2024 T20 World Cup

Former India opener Gautam Gambhir felt that its okay if India move on from KL Rahul, Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli before the 2024 T20 World Cup as long as they are kept informed by the selectors.

There are signs of big changes in the team composition as Hardik Pandya was handed over T20I captaincy for the second series in a row with regular captain Rohit Sharma rested for the upcoming series against Sri Lanka. Virat Kohli and KL Rahul, along with Rishabh Pant, were also not picked for the three-match series in January.

Gambhir felt that there is no panic if the selectors move on from certain individuals.

"There should be clarity. There should be good communication between the selectors and these players. If the selectors have decided to look beyond these guys, so be it. I think a lot of countries have done that," Gambhir told ESPNCricinfo during an interaction.

"We make too much of a hue and cry when the selectors and management look beyond certain individuals. Ultimately, it's not about the individuals, but how you want to go about your plans for the next (T20) World Cup, because you want to go in there and win it. If these guys haven't been able to achieve that, I think you never know. People like Suryakumar, the younger generation can go on to achieve that dream," the former left-hander added.

Gambhir felt that there are other players who are capable of playing fearless cricket and deserve to be in the mix going forward.

"Personally, if you ask me, it looks tough. People like Suryakumar Yadav, Ishan Kishan should all be in the mix. Hardik Pandya is there, I'd like to try to get guys like Prithvi Shaw, Rahul Tripathi and Sanju Samson into the mix. They can play fearless cricket," Gambhir said.

Gambhir referred to the discussion around playing aggressive cricket in build up to the 2022 T20 World Cup in Australia, which amounted to nothing in the semifinal against England, which they lost by 10 wickets.

"We've spoken so much about the template and stuff going into the previous (2022) World Cup, that we want to play at a certain template, that we want to play aggressive cricket, but when it came to a crunch game (semi-final), all that template went out of the window. Probably the new generation of cricketers might be able to achieve that template and play the T20 cricket everyone wants India to play," Gambhir said.

Pant, who has been excelling in Tests but is suffering in white-ball, was out of both the T20I and ODI squad against Sri Lanka with Ishan Kishan getting the nod as the wicketkeeper-batter. Gambhir felt that Pant can focus on red-ball cricket and wait for opportunities in limited-overs.

"Rishabh had got his opportunities in white-ball cricket and hasn't been able to grab it, and someone else like Ishan Kishan has been able to grab it. So probably now he should just focus on red-ball cricket, and if his turn comes, whenever he gets that opportunity, try and grab it," Gambhir said.

Meanwhile, Rajasthan Royals' head coach Kumar Sangakkara, felt that Sanju Samson should find more game time given his consistent performances in white-ball cricket.

Since January this year, the Kerala batter has averaged 71 from nine ODI innings and struck 179 runs in five T20I innings at a strike rate of 158.4.

"The nature of selection in international cricket is that you have to be ready to play out of position. You have to be flexible and Sanju has been. What Sanju has to do is control what he does in the middle when he gets a chance. I've had lots of conversations with him. He takes a lot of pride in preparation and to play for India. I just hope they can give him a nice, extended run so that he can settle in and not have the nagging suspicion that he may be dropped for the next match or the next series," Sangakkara said.

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