Tilak Varma
Tilak Varma Image Credit: AFP

New Delhi: Former India cricketer Gautam Gambhir rejected ex-head coach Ravi Shastri's idea of having three left-handers in the squads for Asia Cup and World Cup, emphasizing that players should be picked on form rather than whether they are left or right-handed.

Earlier, Shastri had suggested that India should consider including three left-handers within their top seven batting positions for the upcoming Asia Cup and the ODI World Cup to add variety to their line-up.

Speaking to Star Sports on the Selection Day show, Gambhir said: "If he has been picked (Tilak Varma), then of course he should get some matches to play. And if he gets game time and performs better than other batsmen, then you should definitely take him in the squad. Because, as I’ve said earlier, form is important. This debate about who is a left-hander or a right-hander or whether we need three left-handers is a useless debate. We look at quality, we do not look to see how many left-handers are in the squad."

"If the batsman is good regardless of whether he is a right-hander or a left-hander, we should see how he performs in every condition and against each bowler. If Tilak Varma is in good form, then select him. If Shreyas Iyer or KL Rahul are in good form, then select them. It’s not a compulsion that you have to keep a left-hander in the squad or that you need to have three left-handers in the lineup. I don’t think we need to even start a debate like this. If we are focusing on left-handers, then what about Yashasvi Jaiswal and other left-handers? But you look at quality, don't you, not quantity," he said.

India selected 17 cricketers for the Asia Cup that includes Shreyas Iyer, K.L Rahul, Suryakumar Yadav and young middle-order left-handed batter Tilak Varma, who was handed a maiden ODI call-up.

Sharing insightful perspectives on the crucial considerations involved in team selection for the tournaments like Asia Cup and World, Gambhir emphasized that when it comes to assembling a winning squad, factors such as form, and impact should outweigh reputations or positions.

"There is no front-runner for a position when you are trying to win the World Cup. Form and impact are important. The players who are in form need to be picked, rather than those who are not. Let it be Shreyas Iyer, K.L Rahul, or anybody. If Tilak Varma is in better form than someone, if Suryakumar Yadav is in better form than Shreyas Iyer or KL Rahul or Ishan Kishan, then you need to start that player. Because the World Cup comes once in four years, you don’t go and see who is a front-runner or not," he said.

The 41-year-old also said that Iyer and Rahul need to accumulate runs in order to solidify their positions in the World Cup squad; otherwise, players such as Suryakumar and Tilak could potentially replace them.

"Who is in the best form after the Asia Cup and the Australia series, just as Rohit Sharma had said, there is no guarantee for anybody’s position. It’s great to have Shreyas Iyer and K.L Rahul back from injury, but they will need to perform if they want to get in the playing eleven for a match," Gambhir added.