Colombo: Ask Gautam Gambhir a question about a specific individual, and watch his eyes narrow, his nostrils flare gently, a touch of irritation creep into his expressions. Especially, but not only, if the individual in question hasn't had a good run.
On the eve of the 2012 Indian Premier League final, when Gambhir was asked about Sunil Narine’s superb contributions to Kolkata Knight Riders’ success, he had thundered, "I hate talking about individuals." It was no different on Friday afternoon as he reflected on the heavy defeat in the second One-Day International against Sri Lanka, and looked ahead to Saturday's third game.
The question, early in the piece, inevitably centred around Rohit Sharma and Manoj Tiwary, seemingly locked in a battle for the No. 4 slot. Gambhir was asked if the long wait – Tiwary hasn't played an ODI since December, when he made a century against West Indies – might cause him to lose the mental edge. "It's not about individuals and I don't want to talk about individuals, about how Manoj is feeling," replied Gambhir. "How the team is doing is all that matters. Somewhere down the line, he will get an opportunity. Whenever Manoj gets that opportunity, he will be, and he should be, looking forward to it. But the important thing is whichever playing XI gets picked should do the job for the team. That is more important than talking about individuals at this stage."