Gambhir set for 'great challenge'

“It's a great challenge,” remarked Gambhir after India’s practice session here on Saturday afternoon. It will be the first time the left-hander will be captaining the Indian side when he goes out for the toss with Daniel Vettori on Sunday. “It’s a dream. I am really excited and hopefully I will live up to the expectations. It's a responsibility that has been given to the team (to perform without the seniors).”

With five senior players out, there is enough scope to experiment with this side. “The most important thing right now is to win the game, to win the series rather than thinking about giving opportunity to all the players,” he stated, making his priorities clear.

“We are just about to begin the series and it's too early to say that you need to give opportunity to all the players. It's an international series and you are playing for your country. Rather than thinking of giving opportunity to all, we would be better of winning the series and then taking it from there.” Though not in as many words, Gambhir hinted at batting first on the Guwahati wicket.

“Guwahati is always a good wicket which might do a bit in the morning. But it looks a good one-day wicket. I would like to put up as much as possible but 270-280 seems a good total because it starts spinning in the second half,” he pointed out.

Gambhir strongly defended struggling fellow left-hander Yuvraj Singh. “India never had such a match-winner,” began the Delhiite. “The amount of matches he has won for the team is incredible. Doubting his abilities is not the right thing. He already has a half-century to his name in the last one-dayer he played and has done decently in Dambulla as well. It's just about playing one big innings and then he is back to his best.”

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