T20 World Cup 2021: “Afghanistan aren’t pushovers,” Gambhir warns India ahead of Afghanistan clash

Team India | Getty

Former cricketer Gautam Gambhir has warned India ahead of their all-important clash against Afghanistan in the ICC T20 World Cup 2021 at Abu Dhabi, saying that the Mohammad Nabi-led side isn’t pushovers.

After getting thumped by Pakistan and New Zealand in their first two matches, Team India dented their chances of qualifying for the semi-finals.

The ‘Men in Blue’ now have to win all their remaining matches by big margins and are also dependant on the result of other teams if they have to fancy their chances of qualifying for the semi-finals.

India are slated to play Afghanistan in their third match of the tournament today (3rd November) and with the three quality spinners in the opposition, it won’t be an easy task for the Virat Kohli-led side to beat the Mohammad Nabi-led side in a must-win clash.

While a win against Afghanistan would still keep their semi-final hopes alive, a loss would see them getting knockout of the tournament

“Afghanistan aren’t pushovers. They’ve a better bowling attack than the likes of Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. In such a situation when runs are dried up, batters tend to play for their position, which can be extra motivation. 

“Do that and get runs on the board. You try to win first, rather than thinking about the NRR. Once you are in the game, you play according to the situation,” Gautam Gambhir told Star Sports.

After Team India both lost their matches in the T20 World Cup 2021, many fans and pundits criticised IPL for their downfall as they felt that the Virat Kohli-led side don’t take international assignments seriously and only think IPL is enough.

Talking about the same, Gautam Gambhir staunchly defended the IPL saying that instead of pointing figures on the league India should accept that their opponents have performed better.

He then cited the example of the New Zealand clashes of this World Cup and the World Cup 2019. He argued the Men in Blue were simply “not brave enough” which has nothing to the with the IPL.

“You can’t blame the IPL. If anything goes wrong with Indian cricket, everyone starts pointing fingers towards the IPL. This is wrong. Sometimes, you have to expect that 2-3 teams are playing better cricket than you. The earlier you accept that, the better it will be for you,” 

“In the previous game against New Zealand, we weren’t brave enough, we were so nervous before the game. What has that got to do with IPL? It was similar in the 2019 World Cup semi-final as well. At that time, we had come to the World Cup after playing in the Indian Premier League as well,” he said.

Gautam Gambhir pointed that playing IPL besides the World Cup is important as players get adequate match practice.

“Instead, IPL is important because players need adequate match practice. You can’t go into the World Cup with 2-3 games of practice and warm-ups,” he said.