Lanka turning point: Gambhir

Lanka turning point: Gambhir

Taking catch is a joy for Dravid

Gautam Gambhir

“I never thought I would score over a thousand runs in both forms of the game (Tests and ODIs), especially in Test cricket because I was not even in the Test squad. The Sri Lanka tour made a lot of difference (to my career),” he said after receiving the Cricketer of the Year award here on Thursday night.

“There were lots of questions and criticisms about my technique and ability to score against a good bowling attack, but hundreds against Australia gave me a lot of confidence. It was a dream to score a double century against them (in Delhi),” he added.
Gambhir, who passed a fitness test this morning on the eve of the team’s departure to take part in the ICC Champions Trophy, attributed his success to the guidance of fellow-opener and Delhi team-mate Virender Sehwag.

“A lot of credit goes to Viru. He has redefined my Test career. Batting alongside him has been an honour,” the left-handed opener said.

Gambhir was optimistic to carry on in the same vein in future. “When you are scoring runs, you want to keep playing. I have seen a lot of lows. Now I have a lot of things to achieve,” he added.

Sehwag, who was left out of the Champions Trophy squad because of his shoulder surgery, said he was surprised to learn he had carried his bat through when he scored a Test double ton last year in Sri Lanka.

“When I was returning (after his unbeaten innings) someone informed me that I had carried my bat through and I was only the second player after Sunil Gavaskar to do so,” he said at the function.

“I never thought I would be able to do that. That innings was also special because for the first time two spinners (Muthiah Muralitharan and Ajantha Mendis) were bowling in tandem,” the flamboyant opener said.

Though he never wanted to prove anything to anyone, Sehwag said, “I wanted to show I belonged to this place. 2008 was the best year of my life as I was consistent in both forms of the game.”

Rahul Dravid, who has made a comeback in ODIs after nearly two years, said he was happy to get an award for becoming the world’s highest taker of catches in Tests.

“When you bat you celebrate only with one person (non-striker) but taking a wicket allows you to celebrate with the entire team. It feels great to help someone take a wicket,” he said.

Dravid, an expert in the slip cordon, said India have always had a good reserve of slip catchers with the current team boasting the likes of VVS Laxman, Sachin Tendulkar and Sehwag.