Naming Virat Kohli as Dhoni’s deputy is unfair on Gautam Gambhir!

Virender Sehwag ‘rested’ not ‘dropped’; Virat Kohli made the vice captain, relegating the stature of his senior Delhi mate Gautam Gambhir; Rohit Sharma and Suresh Raina still finding their names in the team after disastrous show Down Under, Umesh Yadav lft out and many more --- the five wise men of Indian cricket have taken some surprising decisions which will surely add fuel to the fire already engulfing the battered Indian team. Indian selectors have announced the side for the upcoming Asia Cup to be played in Dhaka and some of their decisions need proper explanation.

No matter what the BCCI says, the rift between MS Dhoni and Sehwag is clear to everyone. They have publicly given statements which prove that all is not well inside the Indian camp. As a result Sehwag is ‘rested’ from the Asia Cup.

The other controversial decision that they have taken is relegating Gautam Gambhir’s position in the team. Gambhir has been the second in command for long whenever Sehwag was missing from the team. This time it will be different, as his younger Delhi teammate Virat Kohli has been named the new vice-captain of the team.

The selectors have given the reason that Kohli is the future of Indian cricket and they want to test him at the biggest stage. But, then Gambhir too isn’t that old and have led India successfully in absence of MS Dhoni in the past.

If Kohli has been promoted because of his performance in the one-day series, then there was no reason to demote Gambhir. The left-hander is the second highest run-scorer for India in the Commonwealth Bank Series and he is behind Kohli by only 65 runs, keeping in mind he played one game less because of the controversial rotation policy.

The reason that comes to mind for the demotion of Gambhir is his closeness to Virendra Sehwag. Gambhir also publicly criticized Dhoni for his batting, saying that the Indian captain should not always take the match in the last over as he should look to finish the match a bit early.

It is true that Virat Kohli is the only batsman to score a century on this tour so far, but Gambhir came close to achieve the feat as has scored two 90’s in the tournament and was a bit unfortunate to miss that elusive hundred.

If Virat has started to show responsibility than one should not forget that Gambir has been showing the same responsibility since long. He has played some very important innings in both ODIs and Tests. No one can forget his contribution in the World Cup final, and if not for a Dhoni six, he would have been the man of the match in the final.

Kohli, though, seems to have cemented his place in all formats of the game and has temperament to play at big stage, he is still young and have things to learn. He was all at sea playing in the West Indies. Gambhir no doubt has had a bit of a struggle in the recent past, but anyone who understands cricket will know that he is the only genuine opener India has had after Sunil Gavasker, keeping in mind that Virender Sehwag is a made shift opener and never opened before hitting the international arena.

Kohli undoubtedly played a brilliant innings but is it fair to take the charge away from a player who has played 40 more Tests and around 50 more one-dayers than him. Gambhir’s international record can give any player a run for their money, and over the years have proven that he is one of the best openers that has played for India.

If India is testing new men for the big job than maybe they could have named Gambhir the captain and his Delhi mate his deputy, as Dhoni has already made his intentions clear that he might not play in the 2014 world cup. So, why not test a new captain as well.

In the already simmering tensions within the team where the players are said to be divided into camps, decisions like these can back-fire as there has to be a substantial reason for taking any decision. And the Indian selectors did not have a single reason to demote Gautam Gambhir.

By Gaurav Jha
Indian Sports News