Former India cricketer Gautam Gambhir spoke exclusively to Star Sports on the Selection Day show on what is most important when picking a team for the World Cup.
"One thing is clear; 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, KL 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. 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 KL Rahul back from injury, but they will need to perform if they want to get in the starting lineup of the squad."
"I will only look at the form, not the name. Because if you want to win the World Cup, only form and impact from the players will help you win. A good thing the selectors have done is picked Suryakumar Yadav for the team. Because Suryakumar Yadav may not have the consistency, he has the impact, and the team management should find the most efficient way to use him."
"So, in my opinion, whether it's KL Rahul or Shreyas Iyer, or anybody, we will look at their form after the Asia Cup and which team plays in the Australia series. That series will determine who plays in the World Cup rather than deciding after the series is over that who will play in the World Cup. Because there should be a series before the World Cup where your main squad plays together."
Gambhir also dismissed any discussion about whether the team needs three left-handers, stating that players should be chosen based on their form rather than whether they are left or right-handed.
"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."
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