Gambhir's mantra: see the ball, hit the ball

Gautam Gambhir has devised a simple formula to be successful in Australian conditions - see the ball, hit the ball and play in the 'V'

updated: February 11, 2008 08:05 IST
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India's centurion against Sri Lanka Gautam Gambhir has devised a simple formula to be successful in Australian conditions - see the ball, hit the ball and play in the 'V'.

Gambhir, the lone centurion so far in the CB Series, said the conditions Down Under were conducive for strokeplay and he preferred to meet the ball on the front foot.

"The plan is simple," says Gambhir. "See the ball, hit the ball and play in the 'V'. The conditions here give a batsman full value for his strokes though (admittedly) you need a lot of courage and determination," said Gambhir, who joined the Indian squad for the Twenty20 and tri-series matches.

"There is a lot of talk that when you come to Australia you play on the back foot all the time. But if you ask me, the plan should be to meet the ball on the front foot", he said.

The Delhi batsman admitted that going on the front foot against genuine fast bowlers like Brett Lee and Mitchell Johnson may not be easy.

"It's difficult to get on to the front foot against genuine quicks like Brett Lee or Mitchell Johnson but there is very little chance when you are sitting on the backfoot," he added.

India 'A' experience proves useful

Unlike most of his teammates, including skipper M.S. Dhoni, Gambhir has experience of playing in Australia as well as of facing some of the quicks, who are now part of their national squad.

"I had played in Australia for India 'A' before and have faced the likes of Mitchell Johnson and Shaun Tait. I did well then and to be honest, I have never felt this confident before," Gambhir said.

Gambhir, a left-hander with quicksilver reflexes, has a simple mantra in life: "You don't win a silver, you lose a gold." The inference is clear: win at all costs.

"That is what I believe in and this is what I want to maintain throughout my playing career," said the youngster, who has the potential to build a great deal on his three centuries from 39 ODI games as of now.

Beat they neighbours

Gambhir seems to come on to his own against the Sri Lankans. In two games against the neighbours, he has two hundreds and an average of 116.50.

He admitted of having difficulty in picking up Muttiah Muralitharan initially but towards the later stages of his innings in Brisbane was lording over the world's most successful bowler ever.

"I'm coming on the back of a good Ranji season where I played quality spin bowling. I think this will keep me in good stead against the Lankans."

Gambhir's nimble footwork has been lauded in the past as well. The likes of Imran Khan and Ravi Shastri have even gone on to claim that he possesses the best footwork against the spinners.

"That is because even as a kid I played quality spin bowling, but more than the feet the positive approach is in the mind. If you are sure and confident in the mind, invariably your feet will take you where you should be," he

'I am fine batting at No. 3'

Gambhir does not feel that there is anything missing when he bats at number 3.

"What is paramount is what the team management wants. We have to support our skipper and make sure that India wins. Batting and bowling slots are inconsequential," he said.

"Veeru and myself have a great understanding since we have played a lot of cricket together, while Sachin paaji gives a lot of confidence when I'm batting with him, so it is a treat to bat with either of them.

Though Gambhir is proud of the Twenty20 World Cup triumph in South Africa, he still maintains that the real stuff is Test and One-day cricket.

"September 24 , 2007 when we won in Johannesburg is one of the proudest days of my life but I'd still want to be remembered as a good Test and one-day player," said Gambhir, who is India's highest run-getter in the Twenty20 format.