Gambhir backs Yuvraj, Raina

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On the eve of the first ODI between NZ and India, Indian stand-in skipper Gautam Gambhir called for the media to be lenient on Yuvraj Singh. Yuvi has been facing immense pressure and constant scrutiny ever since he was demoted to a Grade B contract by the BCCI.

He termed Yuvi as one of the best match-winners India has produced and said, “We are just making too much of Yuvraj Singh. We are focusing too much on what he is doing and not doing. Give him some time and let him be what he is. He is such a great player and I would request the media to be a little lenient on him and give him some time.”

Gambhir went on to say that he is a quality player and he has played a lot of international cricket. He stated that India never had such a match-winner and he has won an incredible number of matches for India. He went on to say that doubting his abilities is not the right thing.

He pointed out that he has a half-century to his name in the last ODI (against Australia in Visakhapatnam) that he played and did decently in Dambulla as well. It’s only a matter of one big innings and he will be back to his best.

“He practiced fielding with me and he pursued with immense intensity like any other player. You can’t just keep thinking why he is not fielding, practicing with the same intensity.”

Yuvraj had a disappointing year so far that saw battling injuries, patchy form, with juniors going past him to even taking a pay cut as he was relegated from Grade A to B by the BCCI’s Gradation Committee.

Gambhir was handed the captaincy for the ODI series as Mahendra Singh Dhoni opted to take a break before the important tour to South Africa. Gauti also defended Suresh Raina who had a poor run in the recently concluded three-Test series.

“You can’t compare Test with One-day cricket. He has done brilliantly in ODI cricket. Both the forms are completely different. If you see his last performance, he won us the match against Australia,” Gambhir recalled Raina’s 71 not out against Australia in Visakhapatnam, in which India won the match and went on to win the series that was ruined by rain. There will be ups and downs in everybody’s career. You need to give your players some time, need to show confidence in them,” Gambhir said.

“One bad knock cannot put you in bad form and one good innings cannot give you back your form. You have to be patient with them. These are the players who made India No 1 in Tests and No 2 in one-day cricket,” he told reporters here on the eve of their ODI series opener against New Zealand.

He also stated that a window of opportunity has opened for youngsters to prove their mettle ahead of next year’s World Cup.

“It’s a young side so there is a lot of energy. It’s the last five one-dayers here before the World Cup so it’s good opportunity for some of the guys in the dressing room. All of us are excited and are looking forward to the challenge. Most of these guys have the experience at international level and they have done well in whatever opportunities they have got. It’s going to be a good learning curve,” Gambhir said ahead of the first ODI at Guwahati.

Gambhir said a total of 270-280 would be ideal on this seemingly batting-friendly track in the opening ODI against New Zealand but they would have to push hard to finish the game by the time light fades out.

“It’s a good wicket, I don’t think the toss will play a role. Guwahati is always a good wicket which might do a bit in the morning. But it looks a good one-day wicket. Whoever plays well will win tomorrow. Let’s see how it goes,” Gambhir was quoted.

“It’s starting early at 8:30am. Light has always been an issue here. It gets dark around 4pm. So we really need to push it on. We need to be on our toes, we have to finish as early as possible.”

Gambhir said they have a young energetic side with some experience and they should grab the chance ahead of the World Cup.

Asked whether their bowling is short on experience in the absence of Zaheer Khan, Harbhajan Singh and Praveen Kumar, Gambhir said, “We have enough experience in the bowling as well with Ashish (Nehra) having played more than 100 ODIs, Munaf (Patel) has also played a lot. We have quality bowlers.
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This post was submitted by Mudit Agrawal.

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