MUMBAI: Amid row over Bollywood superstar Salman Khan's appointment as the goodwill ambassador for the Rio de Janeiro-bound Indian contingent, Indian batsman Gautam Gambhir on Monday stressed that Olympic gold medallist shooter Abhinav Bindra should have been the right person for the post.
The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) on Saturday unveiled the Bollywood star as the goodwill ambassador of the Indian contingent.
However, the move was questioned by several members of the Indian sports fraternity, with 2012 London Olympics bronze medalist Yogeshwar Dutt making his displeasure public with a series of tweets barely an hour after the decision was announced.
“I think there is no shortage of real sportsmen in this country. People have done massive things for the country and for the Olympic sports as well. I would have liked someone like Abhinav Bindra, someone who could have been a great ambassador," Gambhir said..
"I personally feel that sportspersons do not need publicity, they do the job for the country. That kind of stuff does not give real excitement to a sports person,” Gambhir said at the launch of Sansui’s new premium television series here.
“A sportsperson's mindset is totally different to other people. I think a sportsperson should have been a much preferred choice. As he (Bindra) is the first guy who has won the gold medal at the Olympics."
"He would have been the ideal choice. I have heard someone saying that sportsmen need publicity and sportspersons need Bollywood -- my take is completely different. Sportspersons do not need any Bollywood of any movie, or film industry, it could be the other way round,” he said.
The 34-year-old heaped praise on compatriot Virat Kohli for his sublime form with the bat in the last couple of months.
“He (Kohli) has been really consistent with his performance. His confidence level is so high which is helping him to perform well. Hope he continues his good form and does the same thing which he is doing for a last couple of months,” he said.
The skipper of the Indian Premier League (IPL) team Kolkata Knight Riders believes that the first class cricket is the best platform to judge a young talent.
“First class cricket is something one youngster should focus on. Through first class cricket one can get the right talent. First class cricket does test one’s mentality, technique. T20 cricket is all about physical game,” Gambhir added.