It’s about belief, not big names: Gambhir
Adelaide, Feb 12: Gautam Gambhir laid the foundation for India’s victory with a solid 92 runs as the tourists chased 270 against Australia at the Adelaide Oval. The Indian opener lauded the efforts of the youngsters, especially Umesh Yadav, who has impressed with his bowling throughout the tour.
Gambhir spoke about his batting, the rotation policy and his thoughts on the best playing XI in the post-match press conference. Excerpts:
On the win
It’s always important to win and a winning dressing room is far better than a losing dressing room because it is easier to motivate players and it’s a happy environment. […] A Test series is always the highest form of cricket so there was never any lack of motivation or lack of effort in Test cricket either. [Though] things didn’t go our way, when we start winning I think the belief is far more than when you don’t do well.
On his innings
It is very important when you are chasing such a target that someone from the top three bats up to the 35th or 40th over. That’s what the game plan was and fortunately it was me today […] We have the fire-power in the middle order; Suresh [Raina], Rohit [Sharma] and MS [Dhoni] have always been finishing games for us. Rohit played a fantastic knock, I think. Though he got only 35-odd runs, it was very crucial at that stage. The way he batted was tremendous. Hopefully he can get a big one in the series because the way he is batting, I am very confident a big score is around the corner. And Suresh batted really well. He scored 38-odd crucial runs and then MS [finished the game]. [Building] on the platform that was set till the 31st over, Raina and MS had a very good partnership.
On missing out on his century
[…] If I can contribute, or anyone can contribute in the team’s win, that is far more important. Even those 18 runs from Ravindra Jadeja were very crucial in the team’s win […] Most of the contributions coming from other guys were as crucial as my 92 […].
On whether the wicket changed in the second innings
[…] The wicket stayed pretty similar. They bowled well. It was important for one of the top three to bat long because then the other guys could bat around him. Then the target becomes much easier. With two new balls, 270 was a good total [to chase]. Earlier you needed to look at just the first six or seven overs, but now with two new balls you need to delay your game plan and you need to be more assured. [After] 14-15 overs the ball is still new, it is still doing a bit […].
On whether he needed to work on his style and technique
I have done my best in the Test series as well. It’s difficult to change something in the middle of the series. It is an important series and sometimes you start backing what you have been doing in the past. We need to keep improving but the back-lift and all is something which you look at when it is off season. You don’t want to confuse yourself in the middle of the series. [...] You need to just watch the ball and react to it and let your instincts take over. Working in the nets, it’s important to take your game to another level […]. In international cricket you just want to keep improving if you want to survive [...].
On India’s rotation policy
The amount of cricket we play it is always important to take rest and keep [players] fresh. Australia have rested Mike Hussey as well because they want to keep him fresh. I think sometimes there’s talk that we don’t rotate our players. Now we have started rotating our players and it’s always good […] We know we have got a lot of good bench strength. Given the opportunity, we can try and rotate everyone, including Rohit and Raina, which is very important. We need to try and keep our players fresh. It is still a long way in the series; we still have five games to go. This shows our bench strength. You only rotate your players when you have bench strength and trust them and their ability to win games. As I said, we have the belief that we can beat any opposition with any eleven that goes out on the park on that particular day. It’s a team game and I totally back that rotation policy.
On India’s bowling
On a flat track, restricting Australia to 269 was a fantastic effort, especially with all three fast bowlers. Umesh [Yadav] bowled brilliantly. Umesh for me is the find of the tour, someone who can clock 150 kmph consistently. I think what we have been receiving for years and years, we can start giving back to the opposition. [He is] someone who can hit the deck hard and bowl [at] 150 kmph-plus consistently. He can rattle any batsman in the world, any of the greats of the game, because 150 coming at you is always tough to face, especially in those middle overs. [...] The way he bowled today, those two crucial wickets, was fantastic. Hopefully we can try and develop him as a match-winner for us. It is still early days. Hopefully he can play for India for a long time and take lots of wickets.
On the wisdom of trying to finish the match earlier
We should have finished the game in the 48th over; we shouldn’t have taken the game to the 50th over. That’s my personal observation. [But] it is always easy to talk when you are in the dressing room; it is tough in the middle. [...] When you put yourself in that situation, someone needs to put his hand up and say, ‘I want to finish this game’. It shouldn’t have gone into the last over. […] Pressure is far more on the players who are in the middle and it’s they who are going to take the decision, it is their game plan. I don’t know what was going on in MS’s mind […] The most important shot of the match was played by him. With six balls [remaining] and 13 runs [required], the kind of shot he played [was amazing]. He has done a fantastic job. He has always been a finisher, that’s his game plan; he always wants to delay it. […] I always feel that any runs in the last over is always more pressure than finishing one or two overs before. Even if you need five or six runs in the last over, the pressure is far more on the batting side. We are different human beings and we think differently and everyone has a different game plan.
On when we were likely to see the best playing XI
[…] It’s about eleven people. If they have the belief that they can beat any opposition on that given day – and this eleven had that belief that we can beat Australia today – that for me is the best playing XI. It’s not about names; it is about people who can go out there and have that belief from No. 1 to No. 11 […] You don’t want names; you want people who can deliver and we have shown it [...] Any win by a playing XI is the best playing XI.
On his lbw decision
I could sulk saying that it could have pitched outside the leg-stump but [it’s difficult to take the call with the] naked eye, to be honest. It’s always tough to the umpire. In just a fraction of a second he needs to take that decision. It could have gone either way but as I said, 92 is better than zero.