Under fire after back-to-back defeats in the home series against England, Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni is unhappy with Gautam Gambhir's "attitude and on-field ethics" and has lodged a complaint to the BCCI against the left-hander, a media report claimed on Wednesday.
Dhoni feels that Gambhir puts his interest above the team and has become too self-centred. The Indian captain has gone to the extent of lodging a complaint to the BCCI tagging the opener's approach as "selfish" and "hurtful to the team", 'cricketnext' website reported, quoting an Indian player who pleaded anonymity.
"Of late Gambhir has gone into a shell and focusing on just to save his place in the team. His prolonged poor form has resulted in low self-esteem and he's cut off from other issues pertaining to the team," the player was quoted as saying.
"But what irked Dhoni was Gambhir playing for himself and not for the team. It was evident in the way Gambhir batted in the second innings of the Mumbai Test that he was more interested in carrying his bat by remaining not out, rather than shielding the tailenders and scoring quick runs.
"...Every run was crucial but Gambhir chose to be a mute spectator. The whole world saw that and everyone was taken aback. The effort to contribute to the team wasn't there. Look how well R Ashwin batted with maturity during his unbeaten 91 in the Kolkata Test and he isn't a specialist batsman. He shepherded the tailenders superbly and scored vital runs. If Ashwin can do, why couldn't Gambhir?" the player said.
While assuaging thoughts of any bad blood between Dhoni and Gambhir, the report cited the run-outs of Virender Sehwag in the first innings of the Kolkata Test and Cheteshwar Pujara in the second as moments which precipitated India's downfall and left Dhoni miffed with Gambhir's current approach.
"On both occasions, Gambhir was at fault. While there were clearly three runs in Sehwag's case which Gambhir declined, the call for a run to Pujara was ill-judged. He was having a tough time against Steven Finn and wanted to get off the strike. His desperation cost Pujara his wicket. Dhoni doesn't have doubts about his integrity or commitment," the player said.
Gambhir's attitude has not gone down well with Dhoni, who is determined to win the Nagpur Test and level the series, and he conveyed his thoughts to the BCCI officials in no uncertain terms, the report claimed.
The website report said one of the BCCI officials will speak to Gambhir before the match and the matter will be sorted out. "It is important that all the members take the field in the last Test with the motto of giving their best shot," he concluded.
A source close to Gambhir asserted that though the opener hasn't performed to the potential in this series, Dhoni was playing gimmicks to undermine Gambhir.
"Dhoni's captaincy is under fire. He's being censured by one and all. His place in the Test team is questioned; his defensive and unimaginative mindset as a captain is unmasked, so he's trying to pass the buck and blame others - whether his batsmen, spinners, Sehwag and now Gambhir - to save his face," the website said, quoting the source.
"He (Dhoni) sees Gambhir as a potential threat to his captaincy and wants to undermine him. Mohinder Amarnath has tipped Gambhir to take over the captaincy from Dhoni and proclaimed that Dhoni uses his clout in the BCCI to push his agenda. He thinks that he can dictate terms in every matter...", the report added.