Former India opener Gautam Gambhir has criticized Australia for not replacing Ashton Agar, who was ruled out due to an injury, with another frontline spinner in their World Cup 2023 squad as well. However, they picked Agar as a second spinner in their preliminary World Cup squad but he was replaced by Marnus Labuschagne in their final team as well and Australia have lost in their first two games of the tournament against India and South Africa.
During a discussion on Star Sports, Gambhir said: “It is not a formula, it is the biggest mistake in this tournament. When Ashton Agar was ruled out of the tournament, they should have called a spinner. How can you make such a big mistake? You are playing the World Cup in the subcontinent where you have to play nine matches and despite that your squad has just one spinner. Nathan Lyon is there, you could have played Tanveer Sangha or there might be some other spinners in Australia. You could have called someone.”
However, Australia are also missing Travis Head for the first few matches of World Cup 2023 as he could have given them some overs of spin as well. His absence probably forced them to include Labuschagne in the squad to have enough batters in the mix before he becomes available as well. Gautam Gambhir also added that a second specialist spinner would have proved handy against South Africa, considering a part-time spinner like Glenn Maxwell was also becoming a hurdle for the opposition as well.
“If Maxwell, who bowled well, is your second spinner, imagine if you had another top-quality spinner on such a wicket, then probably this total would have been much less. There is no team in this World Cup apart from Australia who have gone with just one frontline spinner.”
Gambhir further added. “So you don’t need to do the heavy lifting, you need to improve your thinking. A squad that has Mitchell Marsh, Marcus Stoinis, Cameron Green, and along with that Sean Abbott – you didn’t need so many all-rounders. You have made an extremely one-dimensional attack.”
Meanwhile, Gautam Gambhir has praised Quinton de Kock for scoring a stunning century against Australia and added that the opener isn’t too bothered about the conditions and the opposition as well. However, De Kock smashed 109 runs off 106 deliveries as South Africa set the Aussies a 312-run target in Lucknow on Thursday, October 12. But, Australia were dismissed for 177 to lose the game by a whopping 134 runs, their second successive loss in the World Cup 2023.
Gambhir said: “He doesn’t know the conditions and the ground that well because he didn’t play that much on this ground but he is an amazing batter. The conditions don’t matter much to a batter like Quinton de Kock. He is an extremely instinctive batter. He doesn’t read the wicket or look at the opposition that much, he just sees the ball and plays. When you have ability like that, you don’t have to think too much.”
Meanwhile, the swashbuckling batter didn’t get to play too many games for LSG in IPL 2023. While he was unavailable for the first few matches, Kyle Mayers was picked ahead of him on many occasions because of the latter’s initial exploits at the top of the order in the Proteas wicketkeeper-batter’s absence as well.
“Some of the shots were exceptional, especially the six he hit off Pat Cummins’ bowling to reach his hundred after Rassie van der Dussen got out. So that is this player’s strength. Five sixes and eight fours on a wicket where the ball was gripping slightly and there was little movement as well,” Gautam Gambhir concluded. “Yes, strongly dominant on the leg side because of the grip he has with his bottom hand. It is extremely rounded, so he automatically uses the bottom hand and that is why he plays the cut and pull very well.”