Gautam Gambhir, the architect behind India’s chase to win the World Cup Final in 2011, stated that despite scaling new heights with every game, Virat Kohli still has a lot to achieve, in terms of leading the team to global titles.
Speaking on Star Sports’ Cricket Connected, Gambhir said, “It is a team sport. You can keep scoring your own runs. There are people like Brian Lara who have scored so many runs. There are people like Jacques Kallis who have won nothing. Virat Kohli at the moment has won nothing, to be honest as a leader. He has a lot to achieve. You can keep scoring those big runs but according to me, till you win those big trophies you will never be able to fulfill your entire career.”
Earlier in the same show, the 38 year old former left handed opening batsman had opined that the current Indian team lacks belief in crucial games. The two examples he cited were the 18 run defeat to New Zealand in the semi final of the 2019 ICC World Cup and the embarrassing loss of 180 runs to arch rivals Pakistan in the Champions Trophy final in 2017.
Gambhir further said, “What sets you apart from being a good player to being a very very good player in a team 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. 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. So it’s just your ability in those crunch situations.
“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.”
Since the 2013 Champions Trophy in England, India have failed to win a single ICC tournament despite making it to the final four on each occasion. Out of the 5 knockout matches, India have made it to the final on two occasions; the T20 World Cup in 2014 and the Champions Trophy in 2017, in which they lost to subcontinental rivals Sri Lanka and Pakistan respectively.