Loss was a wake-up call: Gambhir
Colombo, July 27: With both India and Sri Lanka having won a game each so far, senior India cricketer Gautam Gambhir feels the remaining games can be treated as a three-match ODI series. Addressing the pre-match press conference, the opener felt it was just a matter of time before youngster Rohit Sharma was back amongst the runs. Gambhir also wished the Indian contingent at the London Olympics the best.
On tomorrow’s match
It is very crucial and [...] We need to look at it as if it is a three-match series from now on. We have levelled it at 1-1. We need to look forward and take it as a three-match [ODI] series [here on] and start the series as if it is the first game. It is going to be a very crucial game in this series so everyone is really looking forward to it.
On adapting to the conditions in Colombo
[There is a] different plan in different conditions. The breeze played a huge role in Hambantota. At times it was difficult to play on one side of the wicket, especially against the breeze because it was so strong. But Colombo has a flat track and there is a great opportunity of making scores and it is going to be an even contest. I think under the lights [the ball] will do a bit. It is pretty humid, no doubt about that, so we need to get adjusted to it as soon as possible. [...] We should be raring to go rather than thinking about the conditions [...]. It is another international game and a very important game in this series so we should be up for it tomorrow and forget about the conditions whether it is humid or hot. As a professional cricketer you need to get used to the conditions as soon as possible and try and get the results in your favour.
On how the Indian batsmen would approach this game after the collapse in the second ODI
I have always maintained that one bad game doesn’t take the talent away. In the first game we made 300-plus and then we were just not up [to it] [...] In the last game we just didn’t play good cricket. I could [cite a] thousand [reasons] like the wicket was slow, etc., but someone like me will accept that we just didn’t play well and the credit needs to go to Sri Lanka. They kept the pressure on us. We were three overs for 30 runs [approximately] and they kept putting pressure on us after that and we kept losing wickets. It’s just that we didn’t play well and we didn’t play to our potential. The important thing is that we have a lot of talent and we need to go into the next game with the belief that we can turn the results in our favour. I see a lot of talent around me in the dressing room and everyone is looking forward to the game tomorrow.
On Manoj Tiwary's confidence, considering he’s been sitting out games
It’s not about individuals. I don’t want to talk about individuals [or] how Manoj [Tiwary] is feeling. How the team is doing is all that matters. Somewhere down the line he will get an opportunity. If he is not getting an opportunity and the team management thinks whatever playing eleven they pick is the best playing eleven to do the job on that particular day, the team management does that. Ultimately it is not about the individuals, it is about what results you want and what combinations you want to go with. Manoj will be and should be looking forward to that opportunity and he should do well in that opportunity whether he gets, whether in the next game or later. The important thing is whichever playing eleven gets picked should do the job for the team.
On the big loss in the second ODI so early in the season
It is a good wake-up call. You can’t be complacent in international cricket. Sometimes what happens is you have made 300-plus runs [...] coming after a break and end up winning the first game. Sometimes you take things for granted thinking, ‘We have got 300 so we can again turn up and get 300’. But it is a good wake-up call for us that we can’t. In International sport every day is a different ball game [...] You have to be on your toes thinking that it is a new game and a new start. [...] We were not up for it. All of us were thinking, ‘We managed 300 so we should [be able to do it again]. We have won the toss again and we are batting first in those flat conditions, so we can again turn up and get 300 [-odd runs] and try and restrict Sri Lanka.’ But then that is not the way you go into a game. You have to go into the game thinking Sri Lanka will come hard at you and [it is a] new wicket, new conditions [and a] new start. [...] Hopefully the guys can get into the [next] game thinking that now every game is important and we can have a new start. We’ve got to be up for it and we’ve got to be on our toes. [...] We can’t take Sri Lanka lightly at any stage; they are a very good side, especially in their own backyard. We’ve got to be ready for the challenge tomorrow and whatever they throw at us, we should be up for it and should be able to give it back to them.
On playing against Sri Lanka
We have done really well in Sri Lanka and in Australia as well, though it was unfortunate that we couldn’t win the [previous game]. These things will happen. Sometimes you will be able to handle the bowling attack better [...]. We need to remember that we are coming in after a two-month break while Sri Lanka have playing very good cricket against some very good sides and beaten a very good side like Pakistan. [...] At times we need to give that benefit of doubt to [ourselves]. Some of our bowlers may be rusty but we can’t afford to find those excuses when we are playing a series. We need to be up for it, but as I said we played very good cricket against Sri Lanka [...] [We won] in Hobart chasing 350-plus, facing 40 overs and that is a tremendous thing that not many sides have done. Sri Lanka are a quality side and we have never taken them lightly. They have done well against us and at the same time we have done well against them [...]. It is going to be three-match series from now on.
On whether they have been inconsistent against Sri Lanka
[...] I think we have done really well against Sri Lanka [...] I can’t say that we have been inconsistent. Chasing 350 in less than 40 overs in Hobart, I can’t say that.
On being inconsistent against Sri Lanka in Sri Lanka
We have done really well in Sri Lanka as well. [...] The last two times we played in Dambulla, we didn’t do well but before that we have done well in Sri Lanka […] It’s going to be a good series from now on. [...] The conditions are pretty similar and we have a chance.
On Pragyan Ojha’s fitness status
Manager: He is fine [...].
On where he thinks Rohit Sharma is going wrong
Nowhere. I have always maintained that sometimes you need to give [a player opportunities]. You can say that he has been given a lot of opportunities but we still need to show some faith [...] He has done pretty well. He has done well – not on this tour or in Australia but before that if you see his performances, he has got two Man-of-the-Series [awards], [one each] in West Indies and India. You’ve got to show some faith in players like him. If you keep chopping and changing players like him who are talented, it will play with their confidence. He was unfortunate in the last game; you can drag the ball [on to the stumps]. It can happen to the best of players but you’ve got to see the bigger picture. If he is in your scheme of things for the next World Cup, then you have to obviously go with him and try and give him as much as confidence as possible. [...] When people talk about form, whether the person is in form or out of form, the important thing is how he is feeling about his batting. You may not be batting well but you can still be getting runs. If you are very comfortable with your batting and if you know you are batting well, then somewhere down the line you will score runs. Whenever we see Rohit batting in the nets he is batting the best, to be honest, amongst all of us. It is just a matter of time before he will be amongst the runs. We need to show faith in him because he is a quality player and I see him scoring a lot of runs for India in the future.
On how the team motivates itself to play Sri Lanka, a frequent adversary
[...] It doesn’t matter that you are playing Sri Lanka so many times [...] When you go out on the field [...] you are playing for the country [...] and that’s the biggest motivation [...].
On the fielding and bowling performance in the first two games
You always look to improve. […] We have a big season ahead of us. After this series a lot of cricket is still to be played, including the ICC World T20, so as a team and as an individual every person has to improve. In international cricket it is not easy to survive for a long time if you don’t keep improving [...] Tomorrow, when we take the field, we will try and see that we do well in all the departments, give our 100 percent and hope to get the results in our favour.
On the expectations from the Indian contingent at the London Olympics
[...] It doesn’t matter what it means to me or what it means to the team. [...] All of us are representing one nation, India, and that is all that matters. [...] What should matter is 100 crores of people and what they expect out of the contingent and I can only say one thing, […] India should go with those players who want to make India proud. We play cricket and I can only give my good wishes and I can only pray that we can get a lot many medals in the Olympics. Our country needs lot of medals and we need to develop other sports as well. We should not only be talking about cricket all the time; it should be about other sportsmen as well. It should be about one thing, that is India and whenever India do well in any sport, I think the credit should go to the sportsmen. [...] I can only give my good wishes to the entire contingent. [...] You can’t predict results. [...] The only thing I can say is that if people are giving their hundred percent [anything is possible].