Gautam Gambhir had two dreams — to succeed against Australia and score heavily at the Ferozeshah Kotla.
He had cut a sorry figure against the Australians on debut (Mumbai, 2004), and failed to score on his home ground in his maiden Test against Sri Lanka (2005). With back-to-back centuries — the first in Mohali and the second at the Kotla on Wednesday, he has realised both.
In the process, he has achieved something much more significant. The left-handed opener, who has already made his mark in the other two formats of the game, has well and truly arrived on the Test scene as well.
That's what he feels too. "There was a lot of pressure on me before the Mohali hundred as there was talk about how I couldn't go beyond 60s and 70s. The Mohali ton calmed me down and I was much more relaxed here, and I am glad how it has helped me. I think this could be the turning point of my career," said Gambhir.
What sets this slightly built but tough cricketer apart is his amazing adaptability in addition to audacious stroke play and unflappable temperament.
"One has to adjust according to the situation. The good thing about Test cricket is that it gives you time to read the situation and alter your game as per the demands. One must know how to see off a probing spell by a bowler and then gather yourself and make the most of the opportunity when it comes your way," he said.
The other thing he does with supreme confidence is back his natural game and instincts. The evidence, if at all it was required, came when Gambhir, on 99, came down to Shane Watson and smashed him over long-on to complete his century. For him, it was just a case of practical thinking as the fielders had closed in trying to prevent the single. But then, how many batsmen would actually dare to step down the track a run short of the three-figure mark?
"Look, I am an aggressive cricketer and I don't think I need to change that aspect of my game for anything," Gambhir said, adding, "all that I do - standing outside his crease or walking down the track--- has worked for me. I will stick to it until it doesn't come off," he said.
Elaborating, the left-hander said it was his natural game that had brought him thus far and he would stick to it. "I agree that one needs to be discreet in shot selection, but beyond that, one shouldn't tinker with his natural game," he said.
Who would disagree, especially with the dividends he is reaping right now.