Bangladesh a wicket down sans Shakib: Gautam Gambhir
- ICC banned Shakib for two years, with one year of that suspended, for failing to report corrupt approaches.
- The absence of Shakib, arguably the greatest player Bangladesh has produced, would be felt a lot.
- Bangladesh cricketers wore face masks in training and complained of sore throats due to pollution.
In his column for the Times of India, Gambhir wrote, "Cricket leagues around the world tick a few vital boxes but miss a few obvious ones. They are fun for existing cricket fans, provide employment to the cricketers besides creating content for a broadcaster. But I am not sure it is as exciting for a franchisee owner as that presentation/excel promised him. The equation is simple. Most cricket properties are designed keeping in mind an Indian fan. That is where the ratings for a broadcaster and eyeballs for a sponsor are. All of this translates into revenue for various stakeholders."
Gambhir rued the fact that apart from IPL, the BCCI doesn't allow Indian cricketers to play in the leagues around the world.
"With BCCI not allowing current Indian cricketers to play in any league, except IPL, other such tournaments have almost nothing for an Indian fan. Except for maybe a couple of tournaments, the other such properties are not in good shape and so are their franchisee owners. A franchisee owner is a businessman who is looking for a return on his investment. Forget about the return, I can tell you with some confidence that even his investment is not secure. So what does he do? Either he makes an exit feeling cheated. Or, as the grapevine says, he ends up bringing in an alleged 'bookie' into the ownership of his franchisee to raise some revenue albeit from corrupt practices. That is where we have incidents like the one we had with former Bangladesh captain Shakib Al Hasan," Gambhir added.
Gambhir observed that Bangladesh are already on the back foot without Shakib but lauded the visitors for not making the pollution in Delhi a major talking point.
"One way or other, Bangladesh are already a wicket down and India are 40 without loss as that is what Shakib is worth. He was my KKR team-mate and I know what he can do on his day. Before this news came in I was quite certain that this will be a much closer series than the last one against South Africa was. Cricket is a funny game and this incident could end up galvanising the visiting team. Let us see. I'd also like to congratulate Bangladesh for not making too much fuss about the pollution in the Capital. These are not ideal conditions to venture outdoors forget about playing competitive sport. So well done Tigers," Gambhir wrote.
Gambhir remarked that with Sourav Ganguly at the helm of the Indian cricket board, more changes to the game in the country are in the offing.
"I think we are slowly slipping into times when cricket will have an impact of weather beyond rain. This is one of those situations. Indian cricket badly needs its first indoor cricketing arena. Budgets were never an issue and now with Sourav Ganguly in the driver's seat, even intent is taken care of. Don't be surprised if you see India's first ever such indoor cricket or multi-purpose arena in about 4-5 years time. I think more than One-dayers or T20s, Test cricket needs an indoor arena," Gambhir opined.
Gambhir called upon the Indian selectors to identify the core players in the team leading up to the next year's T20 World Cup.
"I am reading that India are keen on experimenting with new names. I think we have a decent pool of cricketers and besides experimenting we also need to identify the core of the team. The selectors and the team management should give security to the core besides defining their roles which will lead them into next year's T20 World Cup. For me a secured dressing room is a successful and happy dressing room," Gambhir concluded.