Gutsy India discarded lefthanded Gautam Gambhir is determined to make a comeback in the Indian team as he is toiling hard in Perth under the tutelage of former Australian Test opener and Western Australia coach Justin Langer at Perth.
He is already 33, but he does not mind giving them a try if it helps get him back to the top. Once Virender Sehwag described him as the best Indian opener since Sunil Gavaskar, Gambhir has fallen out of favour with selectors and spent 20 months in the wilderness before making a brief comeback in England last year.
However, Gambhir failed to capitalise on his given opportunity, scored just 18 in four innings and that again sent him to exile. Many blamed the 2009 Test Player of the year’s decline to technical flaws, especially a shaky poke to an outside off stump delivery. “I know there is talk about that but I don’t see it as a demon to be honest,” the 33 year old Gambhir told Reuters in an email interview.”
“It’s a mode of dismissal that a lot of left-handers go through and so do right-handers when they face left-arm quicks bowling over the wicket,” said Gambhir from Perth, Western Australia. “It’s not about ironing the flaws. In fact, I want to take my game to invincible levels. That is why I am here,” he said of his stint under Langer, also coach of Western Australia.
“My schedule here is revolved around a lot of batting in the nets and facing up to the Western Australia bowlers. I also did a bit of mix martial arts and gymnastics, which was fun.” In a way, it seems almost natural that Gambhir should turn to another gutsy left-handed opener to revive his career.
When asked about similarities with other lefthander batsmen who revived their career with similar fashion, the Delhi born player said “Similarities yes, but it was more a case of me relating to his ideology and philosophy.”
Why did you choose Justin Langer as your mentor?
“I met him during the last Champions League and we spoke about the art, the science and the joy of batting.
“That meeting helped me understand him better and after this year’s IPL, I wanted to work on my game and thought Justin Langer will be the best man for that,” said Gambhir, who has scored more than 4,000 runs in 56 tests, averaging 42.58. The left-hander, who can effortlessly shift gears when on song, has also scored 5,238 runs in 147 ODIs averaging nearly 40 with an 85-plus strike rate. Gambhir was India’s top-scorer in the 2011 World Cup final victory but could not find a place in the squad for this year’s tournament in Australia and New Zealand.
“It’s like any other profession when you don’t get good appraisals. You can brood over it but the fact is that you have to put in the hard yards to take the game to the next level,” he added.
“It’s not a setback. No one has taken my bat away from me. It’s here with me and so is a burning desire to excel.”
To a large extent Gambhir’s come back could be easy if he able to win the heart of selectors with his performance in upcoming domestic cricket.
With Rohit Sharma playing the role of opener with Shikahr Dhawan and he is performing below par, Gambhir could find it easier to break into the ODI team.
However, he dismissed suggestions that he might find it easier to break into the ODI side, in which Rohit Sharma, not a natural at the very top of the order, opens for India with Shikhar Dhawan.
“I think Shikhar and Rohit are doing a good job. I mean Rohit got two double hundreds and Shikhar had a decent World Cup.
“As far as my comeback is concerned, I am enjoying the journey at the moment without worrying too much about the destination.”