Kolkata Knight Riders' batsman and captain Gautam Gambhir plays a shot during the IPL Twenty20 match between Pune Warriors India and Kolkata Knight Riders in Mumbai.
As the club-over-country debate rages, the man in the middle of the latest row has dismissed suggestions that he could put his Indian Premier League (IPL) team ahead of India.
“As a leader, my KKR team needed me but to say I preferred club over country is ridiculous,” Gautam Gambhir told Hindustan Times in an interview. “I know how hard I’ve worked for my India cap and what it means to me.”
Gambhir is the second India opener to suffer a shoulder injury that leaves his hopes of touring the West Indies hanging in the balance. A similar debate arose when Virender Sehwag underwent a shoulder surgery earlier this month.
Gambhir was named skipper for the limited-overs leg of the Caribbean tour starting June 4 after MS Dhoni was rested.
Gambhir — who opted to play for the Kolkata Knight Riders despite the injury, especially in Wednesday’s elimination game that his team lost to the Mumbai Indians — said neither the Indian board, nor the KKR management should be blamed.
The shoulder pain first flared up during the World Cup final on April 2. But he said that players who featured in all three forms of the game will be nursing some niggle or the other and that no professional player would jeopardise his career by concealing injuries.
A final decision on Gambhir will be announced by the Board of Control for Cricket in India on Friday in consultation with its physiotherapist.
(Dinesh Chopra works with ESPN SportsCenter)