Gautam Gambhir's exclusion from the Test series against Australia has surprised Wasim Akram. The former Pakistan Test skipper, who joined as the brand ambassador of the Toyota University Cricket Championship on Wednesday, said a player of Gambhir’s caliber must be handled with care.
Speaking on the sidelines of the TUCC anthem – Shankar, Ehsaan Loy's Ab Haamari Baari Hai – launch in Mumbai, Akram felt Gambhir's dropping was unexpected. "You can't drop him knowing fully well that here is one batsman who can play at least five-six years for India," Akram said.
Akram has always been in praise of Gambhir, both as a batsman and as a captain. Both are part of the Kolkata Knight Riders management in the Indian Premier League.
The former Pakistan speedster feels Gambhir needs skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s support at all times. "The captain must give his best players the confidence that the axe is not hanging on top of them. Gambhir will expect this from his captain for sure. It's a relationship," Akram explained.
Now a well-known TV expert who has seen India's 2-1 Test defeat against England at home recently, Akram refuses to say that India will sweep the four-match Test series against Australia.
"While I think India are the favourites, a 4-nil victory is easier said than done. India have to learn their lessons from the England defeat," Akram said.
Akram feels India's spinners will hold sway against the Aussies, but if the fast bowlers cannot "reverse" the old ball like the England bowlers did, then India will not have it easy.
"I am happy that Harbhajan Singh has made a comeback, but would have loved to see the young pacer Shami Ahmed in the squad. He is a fit and eager lad," Akram said.
Akram wished Sachin Tendulkar good luck for the series against the Australians and said the Little Master was "unpredictable" when it came to retirement talks. "He is following his passion so let Sachin decide his future," Akram said.
Story first published on: Thursday, 14 February 2013 13:27 IST