India captain and head coach Rahul Dravid have come in support of young left-arm pacer Arshdeep Singh after he bowled five no-balls and conceded 37 runs in two overs in India's 16-run defeat to Sri Lanka in the second T20I of the three-match series here.
But former India opener Gautam Gambhir said the pacer should not have been included in the squad as he returning from a two-month-long injury break. Arshdeep conceded a hat-trick of no-balls in his first over and then gave away two more in the 19th over of the innings that he bowled.
The young pacer was coming back from an injury and was included in the side at the expense of Harshal Patel. He looked totally off-colour and struggled for rhythm in the two overs he bowled.
Both Pandya and Dravid dismissed it as an off-day for the youngster. "You can have a good day, you can have a bad day, but you shouldn't be moving away from the basics. For Arshdeep, in this situation, it is very difficult.
It is not about blaming him or being too hard on him, but we know no-balls in any format is a crime," Pandya said after the match. Dravid sought patience and understanding for all young players in the team and said such days are bound to come.
However, Gambhir did not agree with their assessment and said players coming from injury should not directly be pushed into an international game. During a post-match discussion on Star Sports, Gambhir was asked about his thoughts on Arshdeep Singh's no-ball issues, to which he responded:
"Imagine seven balls, it's like bowling more than 21 overs. Everyone bowls bad balls or plays bad shots but it's about the rhythm. If you are coming after an injury, you should not be playing an international game," Gambhir said.
"You should be going to domestic cricket and getting your rhythm back because no-balls are not acceptable. Whoever is injured and there is a long layoff, he has to go back to domestic cricket, bowl 15-20 overs, come back and then play an international game, and that was squarely seen when Arshdeep Singh was struggling with his rhythm," he added.
Arshdeep had missed the white-ball series against Bangladesh and his last competitive game was against New Zealand in November 2022. He also missed the first T20I against Sri Lanka played at Wankhede.