T20 World Cup 2021: “Virat Kohli has never impressed me as a strategist” – Gautam Gambhir

Virat Kohli is under severe pressure after two losses in T20 WC 2021 | Getty

Former India opener Gautam Gambhir has come down hard on captain Virat Kohli’s strategies as captain after India lost its second consecutive match in the ongoing T20 World Cup 2021 in UAE.

After losing the opening match to Pakistan, Men in Blue were decimated by Kane Williamson’s New Zealand well as India is now in danger of bowing out of the tournament in league stages itself for the first time since the 2012 edition.

Gambhir was not happy with Virat Kohli’s strategies against New Zealand and said: “Kohli has never impressed me as a strategist. Once again, he was a disappointment on Sunday. For starters, why did he change the team from the one that played against Pakistan? If that was not enough, he also changed the batting order and had Ishan Kishan open in place of Rohit. I have played long enough with MS Dhoni to know that he would have nothing to do with these knee-jerk changes just after one game. And what I also understand is that the other support staff hardly challenge Kohli’s calls.”

Gambhir was also critical of Indian batting who have only managed 151 and 110 in two matches this far, both batting first in Dubai.

“If you look closely, the Indian batting line-up is well suited for these conditions. There is Kohli, whose game is built around hitting the gaps and running hard. There is KL Rahul, who can set the grass on fire with his groundstrokes and still look set for a batting beauty pageant. Although they did not play Suryakumar Yadav in this game, he too can manufacture gaps even after the power play is over. In summary, we needed more application from the batsmen and not some sensational hitting,” Gambhir opined.

He advised the Men in Blue to change their approach to the game and a shift in attitude.

“Our campaign is almost done barring some major upsets. Before the upsets happen in our favor, we also need to get past the spin and courage of Afghanistan today. The evidence on offer so far is not too encouraging, but then it is sport at the end of the day. India just needs to tone down their panic, change the brand of cricket they had played in last two games and present more positive body language. Trust me it doesn’t take too much,” Gambhir concluded.