Former Indian opener Gautam Gambhir has criticised the friendly nature between the Indian and Pakistan cricketers, having noticed it ahead of their Asia Cup 2023 clash. Gambhir feels the players should park their friendship outside the ground and should bring out their aggressive nature instead along with showing the willingness to win.
Before the blockbuster contest in Kandy on Wednesday, Virat Kohli and Haris Rauff hugged one another and shared some friendly words. Later, Kohli embraced Shaheen Shah Afridi and had a light-hearted conversation with all-rounder Shadab Khan. Yet another clip surfaced of the Indian captain Rohit Sharma catching up with his counterpart Babar Azam and Imam-ul-Haq.
Speaking on Star Sports, the 41-year-old stated that Indian and Pakistan players should cease to be friends within the field and can continue it off the field as representing the country must be taken seriously.
"When you play on the field for your national team, you must leave the friendship outside the boundary ropes. Game face hona zaroori hai. Dosti bahaar rehni chahiye. (It is important to have a game face. The friendship can remain outside during the match). There has to be an aggression in the eyes of both sets of players. You can be as friendly as you want after those six or seven hours of cricket."
"Those hours are very important, because you're not just representing yourself, you're representing a nation of over a billion. These days you see players of rival teams patting each other on the back and exchanging fist bumps during a match. You would never see that a few years ago. Aap friendly match hi khel rahe ho."
Gautam Gambhir advises going beyond limit while sledging:
Gambhir further stated that sledging is not a bad idea, but want it to be more of a banter, adding:
"You can sledge, but don't get personal. You have to stay within your limits. Don't involve someone's family member or get too personal. Banter is fine. In games against Australia and Pakistan, there used to be banter."
After India set a 267-run target for Pakistan, persistent rains and wet outfield washed the game out. As a result, the Men in Green qualified for the Super 4 stage.