The Indian cricket team found itself in a similar position to that of Pakistan after crashing out of the semi-final of the ICC World Cup 2019. There were talks that the team has two factions, each remaining loyal to captain Virat Kohli and vice-captain Rohit Sharma. There were even reports that the two top batsmen had a war of words and differences of opinion and this matter is set to come up at the meeting of the Committee of Administrators (CoA) soon. The Pakistan team too was accused of similar infighting between captain Sarfaraz Ahmed and other players after the Men in Green failed to make the semi-finals.
Former India opener Gautam Gambhir, who had also led India with decent records, however, feels that the reports were exaggerated. According to him, the two players are mature enough to not to get into such unpleasant situations. Reports had suggested that a few members of the team were irked with the “unilateral decisions” taken by the skipper and coach Ravi Shastri.
Rohit Sharma, who otherwise keeps a low profile, even said after India’s semi-final loss that the team had failed to deliver as a unit. The apparent dictation of terms by Kohli and Shastri has caused a deep division in the team, critics said. The team management had also come under criticism for sending Mahendra Singh Dhoni at No.7 in the semi-final when experts felt the man with a sea of experience should have been used earlier in the order when wickets kept tumbling.
Gambhir, currently a BJP MP from Delhi, said he saw no truth in the speculation of a rift between Kohli and Rohit but stressed that the BCCI should have put its foot down immediately to stop it from further snowballing.
‘All off the record’
“Closer home, I read that there is a rift within the (Indian) team. A news article claims that all is not well between Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma. For starters, BCCI should have by now spoken to the people concerned. And also, should have issued a statement on the matter. Whatever is coming out is all “off-the-record.” It further sets the tongues wagging and gives rise to speculation,” the 37-year-old said in a column for Times of India.
“I don’t know what is happening in the dressing room. But from a distance, it all settled. Besides, both Virat and Rohit are mature guys. Hence, I don’t think there is any truth in the rift speculation.”
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