Thursday, July 25, 2024
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Indian opener ready with a batting plan

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Gambhir fit for England series

New Delhi: India’s star opener Gautam Gambhir on Thursday declared himself fully fit for the upcoming cricket tour of England for which he has devised a specific batting strategy to counter the seaming conditions there.

Gambhir, who skipped the ongoing tour of West Indies due to a shoulder injury, reckoned that “mental adjustment” will be a key to the Indian batsmen overcoming the conditions in England and said certain strokes would have to be avoided.

“I am back at my full fitness and feeling fresh both physically and mentally. The pain that I had in my shoulder is gone,” Gambhir said.

The 29-year-old left-hander, who has 3234 runs in 38 Tests at an average of 51.33, will be playing Test matches for the first time on English soil if he is picked for the series starting July 21.

All excited about the challenge, Gambhir said he is working hard on his game.

“I think it begins with mental adjustment. One has to see the ball early and play it late. For some time now I’m not playing on rise. At the top level one has to tighten up his game and I have done that,” said the batsman who has 4073 runs in 114 ODIs at an average of 40.73.

Asked about his plans to tackle the English bowlers Gambhir said, “In England, for first few balls you can’t drive on the up till you are very sure. There are certain other strokes one should avoid. The rest I’d do it when I reach there.”

His whole focus was completely on England, where India is scheduled to play four Tests and five ODIs, and Gambhir said Andrew Strauss’ men are the team to beat right now.

“They (England) have their tails up boasting a world class bowling attack which has really tall fast bowlers and a spinner who is pretty good as well,” he said.

Gambhir said beating England in their own backyard would also reaffirm India’s number one status in Test cricket.

“We’ve given a good account against South Africa in Test matches earlier this year and go to Australia later. If we do well in both England and Australia I think we’d have honoured our status of being the number one Test team,” he said.

Asked if the quality of English bowling attack gives the hosts a slight advantage given that India are too reliant on Zaheer Khan in the pace department, Gambhir said, “See, any team at home are always a handful, England are no exception.”

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