Gautam Gambhir maybe among the premier batsmen of the world but the ICC Test Player of the Year believes he did not get the kind of backing early in his career, which some other players were privileged to.
Gambhir made his ODI debut in April 2003 in the TVS Cup in Bangladesh under Sourav Ganguly’s captaincy but was dumped soon after the tournament and it took him two-and-half years to make a comeback to the one-day squad, which had Rahul Dravid as the captain.
Looking back, Gambhir said he was not given the kind of backing that some other players were lucky to have.
“There have been players who were given lot of security and confidence but early in my initial career, it never happened with me,” Gambhir said.
“I was dropped and even though I made a comeback, what happened is it went deep into my system that I have to score runs to stay (in the team),” he said.
Gambhir reckons it was this realisation that made him cut down on frills and flair and concentrate on big, rather than just spectacular, innings.
“When you realise it all boils down to scoring runs, you cut down on a number of shots and flair. It has gone inside your system so badly that you know that if you are not going to score runs, you’d be dropped again. That’s how you have been treated in the past. It could be one of the reasons why I lost some flair,” Gambhir said.
Since his quiet start, Gambhir has come a long way to be the number one Test batsman in the world.
Asked if he still stuck to his opinion that he was the least talented player in the side, the Delhi player smiled and said, “I said that because at one stage, I felt I don’t have the same amount of flair that other people have. Maybe I had it at some point of time but then I lost it.”
Not that Gambhir is too worried with his lack of flair. Rather he believes his approach to batsmanship stood him in good stead.
“It’s not about flair but about scoring runs, big runs. It’s not about being supremely talented or being supernatural. It’s how much you can contribute. People don’t want to see you scoring 20-odd quick runs. They want you to score a hundred so that you can win the game for your country,” elaborated the left-hander.
For someone who puts team interest above everything else, Gambhir said he never plays to the gallery.
“There has been flair about some of my innings but I have accepted that it’s all about scoring runs. How you look doesn’t make a difference. People may like your blistering 30-40 for a while but then it may not be enough. “The team wants you to score big runs and win the game.
Rather than playing for the crowd, which always wants a six or playing to the gallery, it’s more important to play for your team, colleagues and country,” he explained.
Quizzed about his captaincy ambition, Gambhir, who led Delhi in Ranji Trophy and would lead Delhi Daredevils in the Indian Premier League, said he did not give it much of a thought.
“To be honest, I have never thought about that. The way (MS) Dhoni is doing it, it’s just fantastic. Captaining India is a great honour and a huge responsibility but trust me, I never thought about it.
“For me, it’s all about playing for the country and contributing runs. Even if you are leading but not contributing enough either with the bat or bowl, it’s not going to give you happiness,” he said.