Saturday, 9 July 2011

Gambhir Is Excited About England, But Not Lord's

 Opener Gautam Gambhir is eager to prove himself during India's tour of England, but he is of the view that that Lord's, which will host the first Test of the series from July 21, is not a special venue.

Gambhir said he was ready for the tough test. "This would be my first Test series in England... I am very excited about it."

"I had been to tours in South Africa, Australia and New Zealand... It is not that I am preparing any differently for England, but I am really looking forward to this tour and want to do well. Since I have faith in my batting ability and technique, I have not made any changes in my batting style," he added.

"You will end up looking like a fool if you can't back your words with performance on the field," Gambhir said.

And is he excited at the prospect of playing at Lord's? Gambhir replied in the negative.

"To me, it (Lord's) is like any other ground. I think the most important thing is that I would be playing the India versus England series. My main focus should be only that," he said.

On his role as the vice-captain during the tour, Gambhir said it was just an "added responsibility".

"My main job is to go out there and score as many runs as possible. My job as a batsman comes first. But being the vice-captain of the Indian team is an honour and I would try to fulfil all challenges and responsibilities attached to it."

Speaking on Harbhajan Singh's chances on the seamer-friendly wickets in England, Gambhir said the off-spinner would be a crucial member for the team in England.

When asked if the team's middle-order in Tests is still a weak link, considering their performance in West Indies, Gambhir said: "Players like Virat Kohli and Abhinav Mukund have played only three Test matches and you can't expect players to start scoring 90s or 100s from their very first game. One has to give them some time as they are the future of Indian cricket."

On the much-debated issue of playing in the Indian Premier League (IPL) with a shoulder injury that forced him to miss the West Indies tour, the opener said: "I don't want to comment on people who thought I preferred club over country. I have always played for the country with passion."

But Gambhir is disappointed with International Cricket Council's decision to abolish runners for injured batsmen in international cricket.

The southpaw, who is the vice-captain of the Indian team for the tour of England, said: "The ICC decision is disappointing. If a batsman is seriously injured in a close match, what will he do? He cannot keep batting without a runner."

"You can deny a batsman from calling a runner for cramps, but for major injuries on the field, he should be allowed a runner," added Gambhir, who was talking to newspersons on the sidelines of an event, organised to felicitate him for making important contribution in India's World Cup triumph.

Moving away from cricket, Gambhir also expressed concern over the recent dope scandals that have hit Indian athletics.

After star shuttler Sania Nehwal, it was Gambhir's turn to speak about the doping menace that has affected the sporting fraternity in the past few days.

"Doping in any sport is a concern... What is illegal is illegal. Action should be taken against any sportsperson who is found guilty of doping. Even if a cricketer is found guilty of taking banned substances, action must be taken against him as well," said Gambhir.

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