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Gambhir continues to excel as stand-in captain

cricket Updated: Dec 05, 2010 00:06 IST
Nilankur Das
Nilankur Das
Hindustan Times
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When Gautam Gambhir pushed to mid-wicket for his 50 halfway into the ninth over, his opening partner Murali Vijay had not even got into double figures. India were 64 for none, just the right start chasing a moderate 225. There was no pressure on Vijay as the run-rate was taken care of from the other end. Leading from the front can be a cliché to describe it.

It’s been three matches now that Gambhir has been filling in for Mahendra Singh Dhoni as captain of this young team. And except for one in Guwahati, where the left-hander threw away his wicket chasing a wide ball, he has been unbeaten.

With back-to-back hundreds, both match-winning knocks, Gambhir has not let the burden of captaincy affect his batting.

“Captaincy hasn’t changed me one bit as a player,” Gambhir said. “Every time I play, I give my 100% and I do the same under MS (Dhoni) as well,” he added at the post-match media conference on Saturday.

If the three matches are any indication, then it would be safe to say that for the moment, Gambhir is actually enjoying the added responsibility given to him. He, however, says that making decisions on the field, rotating bowlers and setting fields came “naturally” to him.

“It comes naturally. But I have to say I am lucky to have such quality players in the side. I actually don’t have to do much. Everyone knows his responsibility,” he said.

In all three matches, Yuvraj Singh was seen a lot involved in the field. Running up to Gambhir every now and then and suggesting field placements, even though Yuvraj did not contribute with either bat or ball on Saturday, his inputs seemed to come in handy.

The moment Munaf Patel got Kane Williamson trapped in front, his synchronised celebration with Yuvraj sent signals that they had set him up. Similarly, running up to the off-spinners and placing himself at leg-slip to take important catches, Yuvraj, as acknowledged by Gambhir, has proved to be an integral part of this side.

“It’s about being open to ideas. Yuvi’s experience can always come in handy. He always has something or the other to contribute and I am lucky to have led such a side in this series,” Gambhir said.

There’s a cheeky smile in Gambhir’s face every time he is asked about captaincy. The attitude will definitely be great for India in the future. Here is one who excels under pressure.