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'I have never played for records'

In a freewheeling chat, Gautam Gambhir talks about his priorities to Robin Bose.

india Updated: Oct 23, 2007 21:24 IST
Robin Bose

You’ve been a hit in the Twenty20 format, while the one-day record remains flip-flop.

The match against New Zealand (Gambhir got 51) gave me the confidence that I’d get to play the entire T20 World Cup and it provided me the ideal platform for a launch-off and display my brand of batting.

If you’re making a fifth comeback after just 32 ODIs, it weighs heavily on your mind that you may not get to play another match and (Gambhir was guarded in his reply, but his words construed) one tends to play for himself and runs rather than the country. Unless a player gets an uninterrupted run of 5-6 matches, such irritants will continue to dog him.

How does it feel to be India’s top run scorer in T20. Has success changed you?

I have never played for records. My mindset has been that India needs to do well. On the success bit, I have seen so many highs and lows that I know better. I may be scoring at present but tomorrow the runs may dry up. The day I let success get to my head, I’ll realise my upbringing has not been proper. My aim is to be a good human being first and then a good cricketer.

Does religion play a part in your scheme of things?

I don’t believe in wearing religious affiliations on my sleeve, but yes I do believe there is a superior force above us this has helped me in times of crisis.

In view of your recent display, can we say you’ve cemented a place in the limited-overs format?

In India one needs to go with the mindset that you’re playing your last match. Be it the national team or Delhi, I cannot take my place for granted and need to keep performing. The recent success has made me feel secure and has given me the freedom to play freely.

Are you working to rectify the weakness to deliveries pitched on or outside the off-stump?

Whatever the mode of dismissal, it looks ugly. I am working on my overall game and it’s incorrect to say that I am susceptible to deliveries outside off. As an attacking bat, I tend to go after the bowlers and may have succumbed in this manner on some occasions. It’s definitely not a problem, otherwise I would not have scored heavily in first-class cricket.

In view of (Dinesh) Karthik and (Wasim) Jaffer’s good run in Tests, do you have a chance of breaking back in the squad?

Test cricket is a player’s ultimate dream and he’s known by his deeds in the longest version of the game. Coupled with a good first-class record, I have done well on ‘A’ tours and returned decent scores during the practice matches in England. I need to keep scoring and await my turn.

You are known to be short-tempered. Has it impeded your career?

I am better equipped to control my temper, but a lot of work remains to be done. Talking to Delhi seniors like Vijay Dahiya (now Ranji team coach) and Rahul Sanghvi has helped me analyse and realise that keeping a cool head during a crisis pays off. At the same time, I have used my temper to fire me up. I have reacted to incidents just to silence critics.

Your take on the racial slurs again Andrew Symonds.

The crowd behaviour was totally unacceptable. But even if these incidents had not occurred, the Australian crowd would have had a go at us. They are a passionate lot but as professionals we are ready for whatever comes our way.

There’s been a lot of talk in the media that the Big Three – Tendulkar, Dravid and Ganguly – should call it a day. Your view.

It’s not for me to comment. It’s an individual decision and they have played long enough to realize when they should call it a day. But, we should forget they played stellar roles both in the Tests and ODIs during the England tour.

What are your plans for the domestic circuit?

The intensity for Delhi will always be there till we win the Ranji Trophy again. We have a good side in place and with a capable coach (Vijay Dahiya) at the helm, we’ll do well if we can get off to a good start. Last year was a problem as none of the top players barring Ashish Nehra played the complete season.