Former cricketer Shahid Afridi has expressed positive sentiments regarding Gautam Gambhir’s appointment as India’s new head coach. Afridi, speaking to Star Sports, described Gambhir as a positive and straightforward individual, highlighting the immense opportunity Gambhir now has in his new role.

Shahid Afridi says Gambhir talks positively

While both have engaged in a couple of heated arguments on and off the field, Shahid still believes Gautam remains straightforward. He was quoted as saying:

“It’s a new opportunity and a big one. It depends on how he avails such an opportunity. Sometimes, I listen to his interviews. He talks positively and is straightforward.”

Gambhir, who made his ODI debut for India in 2003, played a crucial role in India’s cricketing history. He scored a decisive 97 runs in the ODI World Cup 2011 final against Sri Lanka, helping India lift the World Cup title after a 28-year wait.

Throughout his 13-year international career, Gambhir accumulated over 10,000 international runs, establishing himself as a key player in Indian cricket. His significant contributions also include top-scoring in the finals of the 2007 T20 World Cup and the 2011 ODI World Cup, cementing his legacy as a big-match player.

Afridi, currently representing Pakistan Champions in the World Championship of Legends (WCL) 2024, emphasized the importance of Gambhir’s new role and his potential to make a significant impact. Afridi’s comments are echoed by former South African fast bowler Dale Steyn, who also expressed support for Gambhir’s appointment.

Steyn, a self-professed fan of Gambhir, praised his aggression and competitiveness on the field, coupled with his gentlemanly conduct off the field. “I’m a big fan of Gautam Gambhir. I love his aggression: he’s one of the few Indians that I played against that kinda came back at you. I like it. I think he’s going to take it into the dressing room,” Steyn said. He believes Gambhir’s approach will bring a necessary edge to the Indian team.

Gambhir’s first assignment as head coach will be a white-ball tour of Sri Lanka, comprising three ODIs and three T20Is later this month. His leadership and cricketing acumen, demonstrated through his pivotal roles in India’s World Cup victories and his successful captaincy of Kolkata Knight Riders to two IPL titles in 2012 and 2014, are expected to be significant assets for the Indian team.

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