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I never put club before country - Gambhir

ESPNcricinfo staff

May 27, 2011

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Gautam Gambhir gets treatment for an injury, South Africa v India, 3rd Test, Cape Town, 5th day, January 6, 2011
Gautam Gambhir says he has played through injuries for India © AFP
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Gautam Gambhir has rubbished claims he covered up a shoulder injury to play in the IPL, saying he did play with discomfort in his right shoulder but was never aware of the extent of the problem. Gambhir said he had felt the discomfort during the World Cup final but as it wasn't too painful he didn't think it was a major injury, and hence played the IPL, in which he captained Kolkata Knight Riders. Gambhir could now miss India's tour of the West Indies, where he was to captain the side during the limited-overs leg, but insists he never put his franchise before playing for India and would not have risked worsening his injury had he known its nature.

"Any modern cricketer knows that by feigning or risking injury he is only jeopardising his own career," Gambhir told the Hindustan Times. "It is imaginative to say I was covering my injury to play in the IPL. I played with discomfort without realising the gravity of my injury. As a leader, my team needed me, but to say I preferred club over country is ridiculous."

On Wednesday, Kolkata's team trainer Andrew Leipus wrote a letter to the BCCI saying Gambhir had complained of a sore shoulder when he arrived in Kolkata for the IPL and subsequent scans had shown a serious injury that would require four to six weeks to heal. The letter said Gambhir recalled landing on his arm during the World Cup final and feeling acute pain. Gambhir said he did not think it was a major injury at the time.

"I felt some discomfort during the World Cup final, while running between the wickets. It didn't seem major as it wasn't very painful at the time. Any professional cricketer, playing all three formats, will tell you that niggles are all part of the system."

Gambhir admitted he might have aggravated the injury during Kolkata's group-stage match against Mumbai on May 22 in Kolkata but he still didn't think it would be a problem. Asked why he played Kolkata's next game, a knockout match in Mumbai on Wednesday, despite Leipus having already written to the BCCI, he said he had not spoken to Leipus about the injury before the game.

"There was an instance during Sunday's clash against Mumbai Indians when I threw the ball from deep point and felt pain in my right shoulder. I thought it would be fine with a bit of icing or at most I thought I'd get a scan in Mumbai.

"I had an MRI in Mumbai and Leipus got the report. We didn't discuss it as I was preparing for Sunday's game, which was a knockout. It will be misleading to blame the BCCI, Andrew or the Kolkata management for this. I don't think anybody intended to cover up things here."

Gambhir defended his commitment to the national team saying that he had actually played through injuries when his country had needed it.

"I know how hard I have worked for my national cap and what it means to me. Not many people know that in 2008 I played the Ranji Trophy final against Uttar Pradesh with a swollen left hand. Earlier this year, I played the last Test of the South Africa series with an injured left hand. The swelling was so bad I could barely wear a glove. I am proud of the 93 and 64 I got on one of the most difficult pitches. It is embarrassing to publicise my commitment but I have no choice."

He also said missing out on leading India in the West Indies would be a huge setback. "I am so keen to lead the side that even during the breaks between IPL matches I'd discuss with Yusuf Pathan our strategy for conditions in the West Indies. Now let us see how it goes. I hear there will be a fitness test and only post that things will get decided."

Gambhir's opening partner Virender Sehwag also aggravated a pre-existing injury during the IPL and is likely to miss the Tests in the West Indies. The injuries have sparked a debate over the importance given to the IPL by the BCCI, players and franchises and whether players' involvement in the IPL puts them at risk of missing international fixtures.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by   on (May 30, 2011, 9:58 GMT)

@cricinfo editors -- I would appreciate if you changed the caption of picture from "Gautam Gambhir says he has played through injuries for India" to "Gautam Gambhir has played through injuries for India". Thats a fact and would at least give him some credit that is due.

Posted by   on (May 28, 2011, 19:39 GMT)

am sure after this year IPL there wont be more debate about players needing rest. and if playing for Club in IPL is more important that Country.

Wouldnt it be advisable to have some restrictions in the number of matches a Senior Indian Player/Overseas players should play... say they can play a maximum of 10 out of 14 group matches. For Uncapped players there wont be a need for a limit.. this would mean the team management would have planning to do... and would make it more interesting. MORE Opportunities AS WELL for other players.

Posted by SangakaraFan on (May 27, 2011, 15:22 GMT)

" I never put club over country" Gambhir...BUT.."Surely I put IPL before country ANYTIMES" ... I am sure every player secretly wants that pie of IPL.

Posted by kanishkazico on (May 27, 2011, 14:55 GMT)

problem is IPL itself, firstly it is so long & strenous,it drains out indian international players & secondly the huge money it offers, much more than international cricket, that is why Indian international players are playing in IPL through injuries like sehwag, gambhir, yuvraj and other like Tendulakar, Dhoni and Zaheer they played whole of IPL and opting out from WI international tour! this is the not the first time IPL is hurting Indian international cricket, IPL2 and IPL3 made India crash out of follow up World T20 in early stages in 2009 and 2010. still no lessons learnt! this is real SHAME for indian cricket. the only remedy for this solution is to make IPL short 2 week competetion rather than 6-7 weeks and they should reduce the money offered in IPL to lower than what Indian international players make. that would help indian international players to choose country over club, unless that happens all real cricket lovers who love international cricket should boycott watching IPL

Posted by   on (May 27, 2011, 13:51 GMT)

Get well soon Gautam! Those who are criticizing you are just sitting in front of their computers and venting their anger while forgetting the important role you have played in India's cricket success. Nobody is blaming Sehwag who is said to have aggravated his shoulder pain during IPL as well...

Posted by rajarajan87 on (May 27, 2011, 13:35 GMT)

Unnecessary media hype.. Media should question BCCI for resting sachin,dhoni etc for opting out of ODI series in WI when they are playing in IPL ..

Posted by Sankarasubramanian on (May 27, 2011, 13:25 GMT)

Sankara subramanian - BCCI should realize about the hectic schedule... Should not blame the players .....

Posted by Sankarasubramanian on (May 27, 2011, 13:19 GMT)

At least Gambhir accepted to play for India against WI after IPL... But all other star players Dhoni, Sachin, Zaheer dont want to play for India......

Posted by rajarajan87 on (May 27, 2011, 13:16 GMT)

Media should not hype this sort of news unnecessarily.. No Indian player will play put their club before country.Injury is bound to happen for any player. It may happen even during net practice.Why did BCCI rest Dhoni,Sachin,Zaheer,Harbhajan etc who are fit and playing in IPL? Why only Gambhir is being accused now?

Posted by   on (May 27, 2011, 12:42 GMT)

Oh, that's right @Notredam. That's exactly how they won the CWC 2011, by putting IPL ahead of international matches.

Comments have now been closed for this article

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