Gambhir content with ODI batting slot

Gambhir content with ODI batting slot

Gambhir content with ODI batting slot

Gautam Gambhir during a press conference, in New Delhi on Tuesday. PTI Photo

Gambhir partners his Delhi teammate Virender Sehwag both in Test and Twenty20 but has to bat down the order in ODIs when Tendulkar comes at the top.
Instead of sulking, Gambhir said he had no issues with it.

"When you have two of world's best openers, you don't think about that. With two legends of the game opening, you have to give them the honour. They have a great record together and I'm happy playing down the order," Gambhir said.

"I'm happy playing at whatever position I'm offered. Slot doesn't matter. What really matters is how much you contribute. I'm happy while opening. Even when I'm not, I want to contribute as much as possible for the team," said the perfect team man after he became the brand ambassador of Royal Stag Mega Cricket.

In fact, so impressive was Gambhir at the top that Sehwag called him the best Indian opener since Sunil Gavaskar."It's a big compliment, coming from Sehwag but I think I have a long way to go. It's important for me to do consistently well," said the reticent player, who is ranked number one Test batsman in ICC rankings.

Gambhir remains a fan of the longer version of the game and he supported India captain MS Dhoni's suggestion that it should be mandatory for teams to play a minimum number of Test matches.

"Test cricket is the ultimate challenge for a cricketer. Every cricketer wants to do well in this format. We slug three-four hours in the nets not to do well in ODIs or Twenty20s. If you are a middle order bat, you mostly have 10-15 balls in a Twenty20 match. Legends are born from Test cricket.

"Dhoni is right. India should play more Test cricket. The Cricket Board is trying to arrange more Tests and that is a positive sign," he said.

India, the current number one Test team, had just two Tests -- both against minnows Bangladesh -- scheduled in the next 11 months before BCCI woke up from its slumber to squeeze in a two-Test series against South Africa early next year.

"The more Tests, the better. There are some players who play only Test cricket. So if you play just two or four Test matches, it's difficult for them. There should be a minimum number of Test to be played and if any team wants to play more, they should be welcomed," he said.

Talking about his own form, Gambhir paid a rich tribute to India coach Gary Kirsten, singling him out for India's rise as the number one Test team.
"We never had a better coach. Gary contributed the most in our rise and I've played my best cricket under him," Gambhir said of the South African.

"We had coaches earlier also and they had more or less the same set of players. Gary handled us differently. He gave us space and kept the atmosphere light. Even when we didn't do well -- like in Asia Cup -- he never criticised. He didn't create panic or controversy and gave enough confidence to the batsmen and bowlers.
"Personally speaking, he did not change much of my game. It helped that he himself was a left-hander. He shared certain things with me, like how a bowler plots against a left-hander. It helped me a lot and made a lot of difference to my batting, especially in Tests," Gambhir explained.

Asked about his captaincy ambition, the left-hander said he enjoyed leading Delhi in Ranji Trophy and was looking forward to lead Delhi Daredevils in the Indian Premier League.
"Captaining a side is a great honour -- whether it's Delhi, Delhi Daredevils or India. You don't lead differently for different teams. It's a great responsibility also and it makes me more responsible.

"I want to lead from the front. We won Ranji Trophy (in 2008 under his captaincy) after 16 years and I made five centuries. Captaincy brings out the best in me," he said.
With Tendulkar opting out of next month's tri-series in Bangladesh, Gambhir would be back opening again and said it would not be a problem for him.

"Whenever you play for India, you have to take responsibility and perform. There is always pressure but you can never leave the job to others and hope Dhoni, Yuvraj (Singh), Sehwag or Tendulkar will do it," he said.

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