Gautam Gambhir had no idea he had just become the world’s best Test batsman when HT contacted him on Wednesday. Once he was sufficiently convinced that he had indeed topped the latest ICC rankings, the satisfaction in his voice was palpable.
“I had no clue about it, but yes, it sure feels great,” Gambhir said. “It feels great to have contributed to the team’s success. We have played some great Test cricket in the past and the fact that I played a part in that makes the feeling even better.”
Despite not having played a Test in more than three months, Gambhir on Wednesday became the first Indian since Rahul Dravid to top the rankings for Test batsmen. The Delhi opener, who was third on the last list, moved up after the previous No 1, Pakistan’s Mohammad Yousuf, failed in both innings of the second Test against Sri Lanka.
With Gambhir’s rise, Indians are on top of both the ODI and Test rankings for batsmen. MS Dhoni is the No 1 ODI batsman currently.
Gambhir heaped praise on his opening partner Virender Sehwag, saying batting with him made things easier for him. “It always helps to have your best friend at the other end,” Gambhir said.
“I think the partnership we have, the understanding we share helped the team,” Gambhir said. “It is always great to be batting with him.”
The fact that he is now the No1 batsman in a format in which his ability to last, let alone succeed, had been often questioned, made the feeling all the more special for Gambhir.
“There were many questions about my technique and whether I could cut my teeth in Test cricket...With that in mind, to be at the top feels even better,” he said.
“The New Zealand series was my first full Test tour outside the sub-continent and to have done well means a lot,” said the left-hander.
Gambhir might be the best Test batsman, but his recent form in limited-over formats has been scratchy. He, though, did not read too much in to it. “I am not looking back. I am concentrating on scoring runs in Sri Lanka,” Gambhir said.
“When you are playing all three formats, it is important not to get ahead of yourself and take things as they come.”