'Send him back. He doesn't have that level of maturity': Gambhir wants India to use promising 27-year-old only in T20Is
- Gautam Gambhir added that if the youngster remains in reckoning for ODIs, then Indian management should ask his IPL franchise to play him in the middle order.
Former Indian cricketer Gautam Gambhir refused to mince words on promising 27-year-old Indian player's fate in the ODI squad, as he felt that young Venkatesh Iyer shouldn't be considered for the 50-over format anymore and can be considered for selection only in T20Is.
Iyer's role in the Indian ODI set-up has been making rounds for the past few months. With Hardik Pandya out with an injury since the T20 World Cup 2021 last October in the UAE, Iyer was picked for the home series against New Zealand and for the South Africa ODI tour.
Touted to fill the shoes of all-rounder Hardik, Venkatesh batted at No.3 and 6 in the T20I contest, scoring 36 runs off 28 balls, but was asked to bowl in only one innings, where he finished with 1/12 in three overs.
In the ODI contest, he played two matches, scoring 24 runs in 40 deliveries and also bowled in only the second game, finishing with 0/28 in five overs. He was dropped for the final tie, leaving his selection in the squad baffling with many questioning his role in India's preparatory plan for 2023 ODI World Cup.
Speaking to Star Sports after the third ODI, Gambhir opined that Iyer lacks the maturity a player needs for ODI cricket and should hence be considered only for T20I cricket, provided he opens in that format.
“I feel he should only be considered for T20 cricket. Because he doesn't have that level of maturity yet. He has been given an opportunity to play international level after watching him in only 7-8 IPL matches. If you are going by IPL performances, then play him in T20 cricket. ODI is a completely different ball game and a completely different beast,” he said.
The veteran cricketer also added that if Iyer remains in reckoning for ODIs, then Indian management should ask his IPL franchise to play him in the middle order.
“Iyer had opened in IPL, now he is playing in the middle order. Send him back. If you are considering him for ODI cricket then tell his IPL franchise to play him in the middle order. But I feel he should be kept for T20s only, that too only as an opener, if he plays at that position in IPL.”
India will next play against West Indies in a limited-overs series at home, comprising three ODIs and as many T20Is starting February 6.