New Delhi: Gautam Gambhir's exclusion from India's Champions Trophy squad has left his fans fuming. The Kolkata Knight Riders skipper, who has been in prolific form in the tenth edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL), was left out as selectors went for tried and tested opening pair of Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan.
While the likes of Rishab Pant, Sanju Samson, Akshar Patel were in line to get a call from the younger lot, Gambhir continued to score heap of runs for KKR as regular members of the Indian cricket team struggled to find their mojo in IPL 2017.
Fan severely criticised the Indian board for picking Dhawan ahead of Gambhir. The hashtag #bringbackgambhir was also seen trending on Twitter.
As fans continued to rally their support behind the veteran left-hander, Gambhir sought inspiration from legendary boxer Muhammad Ali.
While his staunchest supporters expressed their disappointment soon after the squad was announced, Gambhir retweeted a tweet from the late Muhammad Ali's account which read, “I am grateful for all my victories, but I am especially grateful for my losses because they only made me work harder.” #MondayMotivation."
— Muhammad Ali (@MuhammadAli) May 8, 2017
Ahead of the squad selection, Gambhir told ESPNcricinfo that doing well for KKR in IPL in order to get a comeback in the Indian team would be selfish on his part.
"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's not right. You should always stay in the present. Rest of the things are byproducts - if it happens, it happens. If it doesn't happen, it is fine. Ultimately I don't play to get selected, I play to win a game of cricket," Gambhir told ESPNCricinfo
The left-hander, who last played an ODI for India way back in 2013, also added that a batsman's performance in T20Is should not be considered while picking a team for the 50-over format.
"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," he said.