Have ‘no opinion’ on Gambhir’s ‘conditional ban’ against Pakistan: Ganguly

New Delhi: Former India captain Sourav Ganguly on Tuesday said he has “no opinion” on Gautam Gambhir’s comment on “conditional bans” against Pakistan.

Gambhir recently opined that the BCCI should either snap all cricketing ties with Pakistan or engage at every level after the Pulwama attack, which killed over 40 CRPF personnel. Pakistan-based terror outfit Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) claimed responsibility for the attack.

“It’s his [Gambhir’s] opinion and to be honest I don’t have an opinion on this [boycott of Pakistan at World Cup],” said Ganguly.

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The former captain added, “I don’t know how they [BCCI] will avoid.”

India will start their World Cup campaign against South Africa on June 5 at Hampshire Bowl in Southampton, England.
On being asked whether India will be his favourite team in the upcoming tournament, the former captain said that he does not believe in such tags.

However, he pointed out that “this team is extremely talented”.

“Although I don’t believe in favourites tag, a team which comprises [Shikhar] Dhawan, Rohit [Sharma], [Virat] Kohli, MS [Dhoni], [Jasprit] Bumrah, Kuldeep [Yadav], Bhuvi [Bhuvneshwar Kumar] like players, it’ll be one of the favourites in any tournament.”

“It’ll be a good and competitive World Cup because the format is really good. Every team and player has to play against everyone. Best four will qualify for semi-finals. I believe it’s a strong format for World Cup,” he said.
Ganguly further said captain Kohli is a “huge cricketer” who “can play at any position but I believe number three is the best-suited place for him” and the game produces such players in every generation.

“Kohli is an absolute champion. Every generation has produced champions. In our time, we’d Sachin [Tendulkar], in Ricky’s [Ponting] generation it was Ricky himself and West Indies had Brian Lara.”

Ganguly also acknowledged that the team can win even when Kohli does not perform.

“Honestly, I believe if Virat doesn’t perform then also the team can win. Look at Rohit, Dhawan, MS Dhoni… I find Kedar [Jadhav] very competent at number six as he knows his role. And then bowling attack — Bumrah, Bhuvi who did exceptionally well in whatever little bit opportunity he got in the Australia series. India is a very good side; it doesn’t have too many weaknesses. It’s just that they have to be at top of the game,” Ganguly said.

With less than three months left for the World Cup, India players are set to compete in the 12th edition of the IPL. Delhi Capitals, which roped in Ganguly as its advisor, would be hoping to get a good start when the team will take on Mumbai Indians in Mumbai on March 24.


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