Gautam Gambhir wasn’t happy seeing Indian and Pakistani players engaging in a friendly chatter during the Asia Cup clash on Saturday.
India’s opening match of the Asia Cup 2023 against Pakistan couldn’t produce a result as rain played spoilsport, seeing the two teams share a point each. As downpour came heavy at the Pallekel International Stadium in Sri Lanka on Saturday, the Indian and Pakistani palyers were seen engaging in a friendly chat with each other. While friendship betwee players of different teams is natural, former India cricketer Gautam Gambhir doesn’t want such camaradrie to be displayed between players during cricket matches.
In a chat on Star Sports during the mid-game show, Gambhir said that the Indian team is representing 140 crore people and shouldn’t be displaying acts of friendship inside the stadium. Such gestures should always remain outside.
“When you play on the field for your national team, you must leave the friendship outside the boundary ropes. Game face hona zaroori hai. Dosti bahaar rehni chahiye. There has to be an aggression in the eyes of both sets of players. You can be as friendly as you want after those six or seven hours of cricket. Those hours are very important, because you’re not just representing yourself, you’re representing a nation of over a billion,” Gambhir said. “These days you see players of rival teams patting each other on the back and exchanging fist bumps during a match. You would never see that a few years ago. Aap friendly match hi khel rahe ho.”
Gambhir, a cricketer-turned-politician, cited the example of his friendship with former Pakistan cricketer Kamran Akmal.
“We’re very good friends. In fact, I gave him a bat and he gave me a bat too. I played one whole season with a bat Kamran had given me. We spoke for an hour recently,” Gambhir added.
Gambhir also tuched upon the subject of sledging, saying banter between players is fine they should never get personal.
“(You can) Sledge, but don’t get personal. You have to stay within your limits. Don’t involve someone’s family member or get too personal. Banter is fine. In games against Australia and Pakistan, there used to be banter,” he said.