'Sometimes ex-cricketers need some masala to remain active' - Gambhir's dig on Prasad in defence of KL Rahul
Gautam Gambhir came out in firm defence of KL Rahul and took his match-winning 75 not out in the first ODI against Australia as an opportunity to put a point across against former India seamer Venkatesh Prasad.
Gambhir, the all-powerful mentor of the Lucknow Super Giants (LSG), for whom Rahul is the captain in the Indian Premier League (IPL), didn't directly name Prasad but mentioned that "some ex-cricketers" tend to need "masala" (spiteful controversies) to stay relevant.
The 2011 World Cup winner was responding to Prasad's brutal assault and crescendo against Rahul on Twitter during the recent Test series against Australia, where after struggling in the first two Tests, the elegant right-hander got dropped.
But even as Prasad mended on that front by praising KL Rahul's well-compiled knock in Mumbai in the ODI series, he was at the receiving end of fan trolling for his earlier remarks against the player. Gambhir only took things forward and indirectly took the ex right-arm quick to task for his words.
Gambhir takes aim at Prasad after Rahul's Mumbai brilliance
Speaking to SportsTak after the knock where KL Rahul helped India recover and get back on their feet firmly from 39/4 in an ultimately successful chase of 189, Gambhir said he doesn't think his LSG skipper is under any pressure to prove people wrong at every opportunity, including the forthcoming IPL.
"As far as KL Rahul is concerned, I don't think he is under any kind of pressure," Gambhir said. "International cricket and IPL are different from each other. If you don't perform in international cricket despite scoring 1000 runs in IPL, you will still have to deal with criticism."
"And that's international cricket for you. After all, only 15 players get a chance to play for India. In IPL, more than 150 players get selected. Thus, you should not compare these two (IPL and international cricket)."
Gambhir stood firm behind Rahul against his naysayers, calling out those who tend to create controversies and seek "masala" at the cost of Indian players just to stay relevant in the media circle. The former opener didn't directly address Prasad but it was clear it was the ex seamer that he was talking of.
"How Rahul has fared in the IPL, he has 4-5 centuries in the tournament. And you are talking about a player who has already slammed 4-5 centuries. Even last season he scored a century against Mumbai Indians."
"We have so many people here. Sometimes ex-cricketers need some masala to remain active. So that's why you criticise people. According to me, the kind of player KL is, he won't be under any kind of pressure. You can't win a tournament with one player. The 25 players who are inside the dressing room help you win the tournament," Gambhir added.