Ravichandran Ashwin IPL 2024.
Ravichandran Ashwin IPL 2024. Image Credit: X

The veteran off-spinner of Indian cricket, Ravichandran Ashwin has lauded the former India opener Gautam Gambhir, who is ahead in the race to become the new head coach of the national team, replacing the current coach Rahul Dravid, at the end of the ongoing ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2024, in the West Indies and the United States of America (USA).

Gambhir has been in the news for the role since he helped the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) win their third trophy in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2024, with his mentorship, helping the captain of the side Shreyas Iyer, after they beat the Sunrisers Hyderabad in the final at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai.

Ravichandran Ashwin addressed the left-hand opening batter as a ‘fighter’ in Indian cricket, besides lauding his fabulous desire to win from any situation of the contest in any format of the game.

‘Gautam Gambhir is a very misunderstood person’- Ravichandran Ashwin

The current bowler of India, Ravichandran Ashwin, during a show at the launch of his book, called ‘I Have the Streets- A Kutti Cricket Story’, remembered the interaction he had with the former batter during his first full Test series in 2012 against a visiting New Zealand side.

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That was just the second year of Ashwin in the longest format of the game, having made his debut in 2011 against the West Indies side in Delhi.

‘I was playing my first full series. I only carried drinks during the first two years before the World Cup in 2011. Gautam gave me a lot of confidence at the beginning of my career.’ The Tamil Nadu-born off-spinner said in the interview of his book launch. ‘I was not used to someone beyond my state (Tamil Nadu) giving me that sort of confidence.’

The sources have revealed that Gambhir has already given his interview for the head coach role to the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). Even though he isn’t the only member as the former player of the county WV Raman too has gone through the same process.

It has also been known that perhaps, the BCCI is looking at the possibility of going with both Gambhir as the head coach and Raman as the batting coach of the side. If the former gets the green signal, then he might be going to Sri Lanka with the team for their white-ball series.

Meanwhile, the former India batter VVS Laxman could be doing the coaching role, when India faces the home Zimbabwe side in the five-match T20I series in Harare, just after the World Cup.

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Ashwin, however, feels that Gambhir has always been portrayed as a misunderstood person, due to his aggressive nature.

‘Gautam Gambhir is a very misunderstood person. It’s all about perception. He is a fighter. The biggest issue with many of us is that we give hero status to someone in our minds and forget about everyone else. This is a sport, not a movie narrative.’ Ravichandran Ashwin remarked in the function. ‘There are no heroes and villains. Gambhir is a competitor. His desire and hunger to win is unbelievable. I have massive respect for him.’

If he finally gets selected for the role, then Ashwin’s first interaction with Gambhir as a player and coach will be when India face Bangladesh in the first of the two-match Test series on September 19, at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai.