Gautam Gambhir explains why Virat Kohli and Co. don’t play well in knockout matches
Former opener Gautam Gambhir feels players of the Indian cricket team are not good at handling pressure, a trait he believes is what differentiates between a good and a very good player. Gambhir, who retired in 2018, reckons as long as India do not get better at the mental aspect bit, they will never be called World Champions.
“What sets you apart from being a good player to being a very, very good player in a team squad is what you do on those crucial games. I think probably we have not been able to handle the pressure, probably other teams have been able to handle the pressure that way,” Gambhir said on the Cricket Connected Show on Star Sports.
“If you look at all the semi-finals and finals, it just shows when playing really well in the league stage and you don’t play well in the semi-finals or knockouts, it’s probably your mental toughness as well. We can keep talking that we’ve got everything, we have the ability to be the world champions, but till the time you don’t go on the cricket field and prove that, you will never be called the world champions.”
Gambhir’s point of view is sure to be looked at. India have lately stuttered in big match scenarios, losing crucial knockout matches such as the final of the ICC Champions Trophy 2017 and the semifinal of last year’s World Cup. In fact, the knockouts are a hurdle India have not been able to cross since winning the 2013 Champions Trophy – their last ICC tournament win. Even under MS Dhoni, India lost the final of the 2014 World T20, the semifinal of the 2015 World Cup and the semifinal of the 2016 World T20 in India.
“It’s just your ability in those crunch situations,” Gambhir said. “I’ve always said this, in bilaterals and league stages you have got probably a chance to make the mistake, come to the knockout stages, you don’t have a chance to make a mistake, you make a mistake and you’re going back home. So, that’s where beliefs come into play and that where India lacks in all those crucial games.”