Gautam Gambhir’s relationship with Pakistan allrounder Shahid Afridi is well known in the cricketing world. It all began when Pakistan visited India in 2007.
Gambhir and Afridi were involved in an ugly spat in Kanpur during the third ODI. The spat had occurred when Gambhir tried to steal a single but in the process, he collided with Afridi, who did not hesitate from expressing his disappointment.
On the other hand, Gambhir was also not ready to back down which led to a heated altercation between the two. With the matter getting out of hand, umpire Ian Gould was forced to play the peacemaker role.
Since then neither of the two squander any chance to take a shot at each other. Even after quitting their international careers, neither of the two back down from taking a shot at each other. Afridi, in his autobiography ‘Game Changer’ has now opened up about his relation with the former India opener.
“Some rivalries were personal, some professional. First the curious case of Gambhir. Oh poor Gautam. He & his attitude problem. He who has no personality. He who is barely a character in the great scheme of cricket. He who has no great records just a lot of attitude,” wrote Afridi about the great India opener who had shattered his country’s dream of winning the World T20 in 2007.
But perhaps Afridi’s memory is not serving him well as the next excerpt totally proves it. Recalling his feud with Gambhir that took place in 2007, Afridi wrote it happened in the Asia Cup although it had taken place during the bilateral series. No surprises then that Afridi does not remember about Gambhir’s exploits on the field.
“I remember the run-in with Gambhir during the 2007 Asia Cup, when he completed his single while running straight into me. The umpires had to finish it off or I would have. Clearly we had a frank bilateral discussion about each other’s female relatives,” wrote Afridi.
“Gambhir behaves like he’s a cross between Don Bradman & James Bond. In Karachi we call guys like him saryal (burnt up). Its simple, I like happy, positive people. Doesn’t matter if they are aggressive or competitive, but you have to be positive & Gambhir wasn’t,” added Afridi about the player who was named the ICC Player of the Year in 2009.
Few days ago, Former Indian Coach Paddy Upton also lashes out at Gautam Gambhir by calling him ‘mentally insecure’, ‘negative and pessimistic’.
Gautam Gambhir was “mentally the most insecure” but that didn’t deter him from becoming one of India’s most successful batsmen, former mental conditioning coach Paddy Upton writes in his newly-released book, an assertion that the feisty ex-opener doesn’t even find hurtful.
In his book ‘The Barefoot Coach’, Upton discussed the myth of mental toughness of elite sportsperson and how they react to situations.
“I did some of my best and least effective mental conditioning work with Gautam Gambhir, the International Test Cricketer of the Year’ in 2009. I worked with him up until that time but I had little to do with him being named world’s best cricketer,” Upton writes in his book.
Upton recalled how the left-handed opener would be in “agony” even after scoring a hundred and stressing more on the mistakes he might have made.
Upton termed Gautam as someone who was wired towards the lower end of the optimism/pessimism scale if 100 stands for “Uber-optimistic” and 0 stood for pessimistic.
“Let’s say his range was 20 to 40 with 30 being normal. When he scored 150, he would be disappointed in not scoring 200.” Upton wrote that no matter what he and then coach Gary Kirsten did Gambhir was “negative and pessimistic.” Upton then explained the contradiction and myth associated with mental toughness.
“Using popular notion of mental toughness, he was one of the weakest and mentally most insecure’people I have worked with, wrote Upton”