Former India opener Gautam Gambhir rejected Ravi Shastri's idea of having three left-handers in India's batting line-up for the Asia Cup and World Cup. While answering a question on Tilak Varma, Gambhir called the theory "useless". He did not name Shastri in any way but it was the former India head coach, who, before the Asia Cup squad selection, had pushed for including at least three left-handers in India's top seven. "There are three other positions where I think two left-handers have to come in. If you have persisted with Ishan Kishan for the last six to eight months, and he's going to keep wickets, he comes in, in any case. But, get two left-handers. Including Jaddu, there should be three left-handers in the top seven," Shastri said on a Star Sports show.
The former India all-rounder also gave Shikhar Dhawan's example and said the left-hander's injury after a century against Australia in the last edition of the ODI World Cup hurt India badly as they did not have any left-handers in the top three.
Gambhir, however, said it does not matter whether the player in question is a right-hander or a left-hander. It is the form and impact that should be looked at while finalising the squads for important tournaments like the Asia Cup and World Cup.
"It is not important whether he is a left-hander or a right-hander. The debate that is going on that we need three left-handers is a completely useless thought. You look at the quality of the player and not how many left-handers you have. A good player whether a right-hander or left-hander will play well in every condition. So if Iyer plays well, or Rahul scores runs then pick them. It's not necessary to pick left-handers if they are not in form. I don't think there was any need to even start this left-hander debate. If you wanted left-handers then you have Yashasvi Jaiswal also. You always look at the quality and the form and not the quantity," Gambhir said on Star Sports.
Tilak Varman can take Iyer, Rahul’s place in World Cup if he scores in Asia Cup': Gambhir
Gambhir was also asked about Tilak Varma's selection was a good one not because he is a left-hander but because he is in good form and can have a lot of impact in the middle-order. "If they have picked Tilak Varma then he should definitely get some games in Asia Cup. If he scores and plays well than some of the other batters then you should take that punt (for World Cup)," he said.
India selected 17 cricketers for the Asia Cup that includes Iyer, KL Rahul, Suryakumar Yadav and Tilak. Iyer and Rahul are coming off long injury lay-offs and BCCI chairman of selectors Ajit Agarkar said that Rahul has picked up a new niggle and might not be available for the Asia Cup opener against Pakistan.
Gambhir said Iyer and Rahul will have to score runs if they want to seal their spots in the World Cup squad otherwise there are players like Suryakumar and Tilak who might take their places.
"No one is a frontrunner when you aim to win the World Cup. Form is important, impact is important. The ones who are in form should be packed rather than the big names whether it is Shreyas Iyer, KL Rahul or anyone. If Tilak Varma or SKY or Ishan Kishan is in better form than them they should be picked. Rohit has said that no one is guaranteed a spot. Iyer and Rahul are returning from injuries but they will need to score runs to get into the World Cup squad," he said.