In contrast to Sachin Tendulkar, who completed his 44th Test ton in Chittagong, Gautam Gambhir’s nine tons are not a statistician’s delight. But then, eight of them have come in the last 10 Tests he has played since October 2008. Better still, Wednesday’s was his fifth ton in five Tests since April 2009 and is one short of Sir Don Bradman’s six-in-six.
“I never play for records, they put pressure on me. So, I did not think of Bradman’s record and I won’t think about it while playing the next match. I’m looking forward to performing against South Africa,” he said.
Gambhir’s amazing consistency not only won him the ICC Test Player-of-the-Year award last year, it also secured his berth in the team.
“There are not many people who get to represent their country, so this is the biggest honour. Every time I go out to bat I think this is my last innings for India and give it my all.”
Since Gambhir’s early days, patience has been a hallmark of his batting. But there were technical glitches and he used to be shaky early in the innings and uncomfortable with balls that left him late. That could have been a factor why he could not get big scores regularly and the almost three-and-a-half-years of gap between his first two tons till Virender Sehwag gave him a mental boost.
“Viru told me, ‘if you want to be a successful player at the international level, you’ve got to convert the 40s and 50s into big ones’. Ever since I got my second hundred in Mohali, things have changed,” he said.
Gambhir is a different player now — a lot more positive and an aggressive runner between wickets. Though he does not have the natural
elegance of a left-hander, his way of accumulating runs is effective.