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Gautam Gambhir: Won’t use IPL as platform to make India comeback

Gautam Gambhir © AFP
Gautam Gambhir said he is determined to do well in IPL 2014 © AFP

New Delhi: Mar 19, 2014

Determined to fight his way back into the national team, Gautam Gambhir on Wednesday said he would be happy grinding it out in the domestic circuit for long rather than using the Indian Premier League (IPL) as a “platform” to make a “personal comeback”.

Once considered as Indian batting’s mainstay, Gambhir now finds himself in cricketing wilderness owing to his indifferent form, but the out-of-favour opener has not lost hopes of returning to international cricket and would be happily plying his trade in the Deodhar Trophy for North Zone and Kolkata Knights Riders in the IPL.

“I will never use the IPL [as a platform]. I will use the IPL as a platform to do well for my side KKR. What all matters to me is good showing for KKR. I don’t play the IPL for my personal comebacks. I play IPL for my team and do well for them. Performing for KKR is all that is in back of my mind,” Gambhir told PTI.

“It’s [domestic cricket] the stepping stone for making it to the Indian team. Till the time love for the game is there, I don’t mind playing at any platform, be it domestic, IPL or the international cricket. I love the game and that’s what really matters to me,” Gambhir said on the sidelines of a Red Bull event, Wings For Life, to spread the message of World run that aims to raise funds for spinal cord research, in the capital.

It’s been more than a year since Gambhir last took guard in international game against England at Dharamsala in January 2013. Talking about Test cricket and T20s, it’s been around 15 months for the southpaw.

The 31-year-old scored 578 runs in the Ranji Trophy this season with a top score of 153 against Haryana but failed to make the cut for the Test squad to South Africa.

He got unlucky for the second time too, missing out on a Test spot for the New Zealand tour despite other opener Shikhar Dhawan’s poor outing with the bat in South Africa.

Gambhir again failed to win the hearts of national selectors when they ignored him for India’s limited-overs campaign in the Asia Cup, where the team even failed to qualify for the final.

With India touring England in June followed by the 50-over World Cup in Australia-New Zealand, Gambhir still has opportunities to knock on the doors of national selectors.

But, at the moment, Gambhir is focusing on the domestic tournaments.

“Look, I don’t predict what’s there in future for me. I am looking that far [England tour and World Cup]. It’s a long time to go. The reality is that I have to play the Deodhar Trophy and the the IPL,” he said.

Gambhir also refused to set any time frame like Virender Sehwag before thinking about quitting the game.

Sehwag had on Tuesday said that he still has 2-3 years of competitive cricket left in him before taking a decision on retirement.

“I don’t know. I have not thought about it. I don’t look at for how long I am going to play. The day I feel like I can’t contribute to the team’s success, that’s the day I am going to call it quits,” he said.

“The only thing on the back of my mind is to do well in Deodhar Trophy and IPL. If I am able to make a comeback, I’ll definitely give my 100 per cent,” he added.

Talking about India’s chances in the ongoing World T20, Gambhir said India have the “firepower” to do well in the biennial event.

“All the games are very important in this format. Whoever plays well on a given day, will win. India have the firepower. If they will play with freedom and flair, they will definitely do well,” he said.

Gambhir said most of the franchises in the IPL have a well-balanced team set-up and it’s going to be a competitive season.

“Most of the sides are well balanced. It’s going to be a competitive tournament and that’s what we are looking at in the IPL. I would be playing domestic T20 tournaments. It’s actually going to be good practice before IPL. The more you play T20, the more you get into that groove. It’s better to have certain number of games under your belt before you go into the IPL,” he said.

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