I wanted to play till the 40th over: Gambhir
Man-of-the-match Gautam Gambhir said his goal of playing till at least the 40th over fuelled his century effort against Bangladesh on Saturday. “It was important for the first four batsmen to try and play till the 40th over and that’s what I tried to do,” the 25-year-old said. “It feels good that I could do it. My first ODI century against Sri Lanka came in a match we lost. But today we won. Nothing feels better than scoring a century that wins you a match.”
Asked if this performance would at last give him a longish run in the Indian team, Gambhir replied, “Playing any match for India is a dream, so I’ll take it one match at a time. I’d rather not look too far ahead.” The innings saw Gambhir curb his stroke-playing instinct and brave cramps. “Like I said, I wanted to play a long innings and stay till the 40th over. Though I started cramping, I knew I had to stay on for the team. Fortunately, that’s how it turned out.”
Rahul Dravid said he was happy with the win. “The past is past and we can’t do anything about it, what matters is the future,” Dravid said when reminded that it was India’s first ODI win overseas in over a year (the last being in Pakistan in 2005-06).
Dravid said Gambhir’s success in the opening slot would give selectors hope as well as options. “When someone puts in a match-winning performance the way Gautam did today, it opens up new opportunities for selectors,” Dravid said. India were confident of winning after scoring 284, the skipper said. “We knew Bangladesh would have to play exceptionally well to win.” Gambhir apart, he praised the pacers and spinners Piyush Chawla and Ramesh Powar. “The only minus point was our lower-order did not get too many runs.”
Manager Ravi Shastri, fast becoming the entertainment source of the tour, then fielded some questions. Asked if they would pop the champagne on Saturday or save it for a 3-0 sweep, he boomed, “We’ve come here to show no mercy, because we take no prisoners. We’ve come here to make it 3-0.”
He suggested, though, that bowlers perhaps did show some mercy in allowing hosts to score 238 for 9 after reducing them to 92 for 5. Shastri, however, reiterated he would not extend his tenure even if given the option. Meanwhile, Bangladesh announced their squad for the two-Test series on Saturday.
The squad: Habibul Bashar (captain), Mohammad Ashraful (vice-captain), Javed Omer Belim, Shahriar Nafees Ahmed, Shakib Al Hasan, Rajin Saleh Alam, Tushar Imran, Khaled Mashud (wk), Mohammed Rafique, Enamul Haque (jr.), Mashrafe Bin Mortaza, Shahadat Hossain Rajib, Syed Rasel, Mehrab Hossain (jr).