Move On from 2011; Time India Wins Another World Cup Soon: Gambhir

Gautam Gambhir scored 97 in the 2011 World Cup Final against Sri Lanka as India won in Mumbai. 

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Cricket
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Gautam Gambhir was instrumental in helping India win the 2011 World Cup. 
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Former India opener Gautam Gambhir isn’t one for nostalgia and believes it is time Indian cricket stop celebrating previous World Cup wins and look at winning another one sooner rather than later.

2 April, Friday, is the 10th anniversary of India winning the 2011 ODI World Cup in Mumbai against Sri Lanka, a contest where Gambhir played a decisive role with a knock of 97.

“It doesn’t feel like yesterday. Not for me at least. It’s been what, 10 years now? I am not a person who looks back too much. Obviously, it’s a proud moment but you know what, it’s time for Indian cricket to move forward. Probably, now it’s time that we win the next World Cup ASAP,” Gambhir was quoted as saying by PTI.

“In 2011, we didn’t do anything that we weren’t meant to do. When we were picked to play the World Cup, we were supposed to win the World Cup. When we were selected, we didn’t just go out there to compete, we went out there to win,” said Gambhir, who also was the top-scorer in the 2007 World T20 final that India won.

“There were no such emotions as far as I was concerned. We didn’t do anything extraordinary, yes we made the country proud, people were happy, it’s time to move on to the next World Cup,” he said.

The former Kolkata Knight Riders captain said that it looking backwards could be a reason for India’s lack of success at marquee events.

“Probably, India would have been considered a superpower in world cricket if we had won the 2015 or the 2019 World Cup. It’s 10 years and we haven’t won another World Cup. That’s why I never go too overboard with things that ‘oh this is a special achievement.’

“If I got 97, I was supposed to get those runs. Zaheer Khan’s job was to pick wickets. We were supposed to do our jobs. What we did on April 2, we didn’t do anyone any favours.

“I simply don’t understand, why people just keep going back and get that high of 1983 or 2011. Yes, it’s nice to talk about it and it’s ok. We won the World Cup, but it’s always good to look ahead instead of looking back.

“More we look backwards, we would never able to move ahead,” the straight-talking Gambhir said.

When asked about the drop to number 3 in the batting order, Gambhir said it did not matter and added that one should be able to fit in anywhere in the team.

“Absolutely not because it’s my strongest belief that you only pick yourself in the playing XI. You should be good enough to be picked in the playing XI and you should be good enough to bat anywhere. You have no option.”

“All this nonsense that I keep hearing, ‘I prefer opening the batting, I prefer batting at No 4 or 5’, it’s absolutely ridiculous. There is no such thing or there shouldn’t be any such thing.”

However, that playing XI from the 2011 final never played together again.

“I know that’s probably the worst thing. Bhajji once told me that. Probably the better person to ask the question is the erstwhile coach (Duncan Fletcher who took over immediately after Gary Kirsten’s departure at the end of the World Cup), the captain (MS Dhoni) and the selectors (K Srikkanth and Co).

“I don’t think this has happened in international ODI cricket history that a team that won a World Cup never played a single match together again.”

Gambhir also touched upon the fact that the current India team has a fair few options and said that most important was having a settled squad.

“It’s very important to have a settled unit. A settled squad. Had India tried more players during that 2011 World Cup also, we would have got 3-4 players for every slot. More players you try, more options you will get. It is as simple as that.”

But then there is a “but” in all of it.

“You need to have a settled 15-16 at least six months or a year before the World Cup...we played so much cricket together, and that is the reason of our success.

“All great teams that have won global events whether India, West Indies or Australia, have always had a settled squad for a six months period.”

More options can also sometimes translate into more complexities, warned Gambhir.

“More players, you try, what are you going to achieve out of it? You will only create more competition and more insecurities and only probably create less opportunities for players you think will win the World Cup.

“That (2011 team) was such a settled unit that people knew two or three months before that World Cup, we are going to be there.”

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