Mental toughness key in Australia: Gambhir
Chennai, Dec 12: Stand-in skipper Gautam Gambhir, who led the team in the absence of Virender Sehwag in the fifth ODI against West Indies, was happy to be back amongst the runs and heading to Australia in good form. In the post-match press conference Gautam Gambhir acknowledged Kieron Pollard’s batting and spoke about India’s plans for the tour to Australia beginning on December 26.
On being back amongst the run
Yes, it is always good to get some runs under your belt but I would have been happier if I would have got a big one, especially in Indore, because that’s where I was very disappointed. But this is part and parcel of the game, these things happen. When you go [on a] tour of Australia, which we all know is going to be a tough tour, you always want to have some runs under your belt. Still, I am happy that I have got some runs in the last two innings.
On his batting and opening the innings
I was lucky, to be honest, that I never got a shooter like Ajinkya [Rahane] did and that is an advantage. When you are facing the first ball, [sometimes] it just bounces a bit. But then this is what [an] opener’s job is. When you go in the middle you never know how the wicket is going to react [or] behave; that’s why people say opening is the toughest job because then people coming in the middle order get to know [if] there is low bounce [and] they can adjust their mindset accordingly sitting in the dressing room. But as an opening batsman [it is different]. Someone like Ajinkya, he got a delivery which he couldn’t have done much [with] but this is what openers are all about. Then I realised after Rahane and Parthiv [Patel] got out [that] it’s going to be a low wicket, so 240-250 was going to be a good total. We got 267 [so] I was pretty happy.
On winning the ODI series and on the forthcoming tour to Australia
It’s always important to get wins under your belt; it always gives you that confidence as a team. But then [Australia] is going to be completely different conditions. When you go to Australia you have to have a different mindset […] We all know that Australians are tough nuts to crack. They are going to come hard at us so that is where you need your mental toughness rather than your technical [expertise]. Obviously you need [the] technical bit as well but that is where your mental toughness will be challenged to the maximum. Once you go to Australia you [need to] have your mindset right; you will be facing a quality attack in those conditions and they will come hard at you. If you are able to get your mental aspect of the game right then definitely things will fall in place. One good thing that has happened is that [some of the] guys have gone early and they will get acclimatised and the [other] good thing is that we will be playing two practice games. Hopefully we can get the most out of those two games and then get ready for the Test match.
On Kieron Pollard
We all know that Pollard can do. The kind of hitting he was doing and the kind of shots he played, we couldn’t have done much. There were some good deliveries that he could easily smash for six so the bowler also couldn’t have done much. But then cricket is a one-ball game [and] we all knew if the bowlers stuck to their game plan, tried and bowled [in] good areas and varied their pace, things [were] going to be tough for him. But yes, they had a very good partnership between Andre Russell and Pollard. […].
On the ODI series in Australia
That’s a long way away and at the moment we are thinking about Test cricket. The important thing is if we can do well in Test cricket, we can carry the momentum into the one-day series as well. On a tough tour to Australia, to have the momentum in your favour is very important. I personally felt that because we didn’t do well in the Test series in England, we could not carry that momentum into the one-day series […] There are some quality players in this line-up who would be looking forward to playing in Australia and doing well because we all know if you do well in Australia, it gives you a lot of satisfaction [and] your confidence also goes high. And that is where you want to get the most out of [your performance]. But the most important thing is to get the momentum in your favour and then take it on into the one-day series.