Indian opening batsman Gautam Gambhir is MRF’s new brand ambassador. K.M. Mammen, Chairman and Managing Director, MRF Limited, made this announcement here on Friday.
Mr. Mammen said Gambhir, an Arjuna Award winner, would join an illustrious bunch of previous brand ambassadors for MRF, which have included Steve Waugh, Brian Lara and Sachin Tendulkar.
Mr. Mammen spoke about the special bond between MRF and sports and highlighted the achievements of the MRF Pace Foundation where pace legend Dennis Lillee is a Director.
Gambhir, he said, would test drive a MRF Formula 1600 during the Asian Motorcycle Races at Irrungatukotai on Sunday.
Talking about the season ahead, Gambhir said he and the team were looking forward to the challenges. “We have had a break and are fresh for the season. The Corporate Trophy has helped the players get match practice.”
The Indian team, he believed, would perform well in the triangular series in Sri Lanka and in the Champions Trophy. Despite the threat from Twenty20, Gambhir said ODI cricket had a lot to offer.
“I feel one-day cricket can be very interesting. It is a more complete form of the game than Twenty20 cricket. If you ask the bowlers or the middle-order batsmen, they would prefer the one-day format.
“If the openers provide a good start in a Twenty20 match then the middle-order batsmen will not get more than a handful of balls to face. And a bowler cannot send down more than four overs. There is a greater opportunity for everyone to perform in one-day cricket when compared to Twenty20.”
Asked about the problems faced by some of the younger batsmen against short-pitched bowling, he replied, “I think the entire issue of some of our batsmen not coping well with short-pitched bowling has been hyped up. We have done well in all countries and in different conditions.”
On the DDCA issue
Speaking on the developments in Delhi cricket and the DDCA, Gambhir said, “Hopefully everything has been resolved. Let’s keep our fingers crossed.”
He was hopeful about opening with Virender Sehwag — recovering from a shoulder injury — again. “It’s always wonderful to open with him, the chemistry between us is great. But he won’t be around for some time. Sachin (Tendulkar) is a legend and one can always learn from batting with him.”
The left-handed batsman said greater responsibility in the team, the adulation, the recognition for the ICC and the sponsorships did not put pressure on him. “It gives you more confidence to do well. You have to look at it positively. Not see it as a burden.”
Gambhir has words of praise for Dhoni’s captaincy. The Indian team, within striking distance of becoming No. 1 in ODI cricket, would not be daunted by the burden of expectations, he said.