MUMBAI/NEW DELHI: Caught in the midst of a raging club-vs-country debate after he played the IPL eliminator game for the Shah Rukh Khan-owned Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) against Mumbai Indians on Wednesday, Gautam Gambhir has told the BCCI that he will be unavailable to lead India to the Caribbean.
Even as a controversy raged over whether Gambhir’s IPL franchise had hidden the extent of his shoulder injury, the board said it was still to take an official call on the matter.
According to sources, Gambhir, who was supposed to stand in for regular skipper MS Dhoni in the ODI and T20 series against the West Indies, told the board on Thursday that he was “unable to take the load”. This followed KKR physio Andrew Leipus’s letter to the BCCI revealing the player’s chronic shoulder and groin injuries. Leipus has advised the Delhi opener 4-6 weeks of rest.
Caught on the wrong foot, the BCCI asked Gambhir to clarify as to why he had played the IPL eliminator. He reportedly said he “didn’t know” the exact nature or seriousness of the injury. Sources said Gambhir felt it would be better to rest for 4-6 weeks instead of aggravating his condition and risking a longer lay-off. Suresh Raina is likely to lead the squad now.
Meanwhile, even as the player refused to further clarify the matter, a comment he made at a press conference hinting that he had been kept in the dark about the seriousness of his injuries sparked a war of words between the BCCI and KKR. The issue has raised serious questions over who was responsible for hiding the nature of Gambhir’s injuries – the franchise, the cricket board or the player himself. Sources suggested that once Leipus’s report was leaked and it became apparent that he may not be able to tour the Caribbean, Gambhir may have had no choice but to play the IPL eliminator game, which KKR lost.