Former opener Gautam Gambhir voiced his discontent during the Asia Cup 2023, expressing his dissatisfaction with the camaraderie witnessed between Pakistani and Indian cricketers.
The much-anticipated clash between arch-rivals Pakistan and India in Pale Kale was unfortunately washed out due to rain, resulting in both teams being awarded one point each. To secure a spot in the Super Four stage, India now faces a crucial must-win match against Nepal.
In the contest against Pakistan, India’s top-order batting performance left much to be desired, drawing criticism from former Indian cricketers. However, Gautam Gambhir took a different approach, addressing the players’ interactions on the field. Speaking on Star Sports during the rain delay, he emphasized that the Indian team represents a population of 1.4 billion people, and therefore, players should maintain a competitive spirit rather than engage in friendly exchanges with their Pakistani counterparts during matches.
Gautam Gambhir argued that when representing one’s National Team, friendships should be set aside on the field. Players from both sides should passionately compete for victory during the game, with friendships being formed off the field after the intense six or seven hours of cricket.
Taking a subtle jab at the current scenario, the former cricketer remarked on how players from rival teams now exchange pats on the back and kind words during matches, a departure from the past.
Gautam Gambhir cited his own friendship with former Pakistani wicketkeeper Kamran Akmal as an example. He clarified that while they were good friends off the field and even exchanged bats, their camaraderie did not extend to the cricket pitch.
Discussing the intensity of the game, Gambhir stressed that there should be a competitive edge during matches but never let it turn personal.