Gambhir's success in 2nd innings crucial for his survival in team, says Ganguly

Former India captain Sourav Ganguly feels opener Gautam Gambhir should guts it out in the second innings to get back in form Getty Images

Sydney: Jan 3, 2012

Former India captain Sourav Ganguly feels that the “intent” to succeed has been missing in Gautam Gambhir’s game and another failure in the second innings here would mean that “voices calling for his axing will only get louder.”

“Gautam Gambhir again struggled and if he does not get runs in the second innings, the voices calling for his axing will get louder. In Australia it’s important to stay positive and bat with intent. That has been missing. He is a good player who just needs to get his head right,” Ganguly wrote in his column Sydney Morning Herald.

“He (Gambhir) is a fighter to the core, a bit like a boxer in a ring, and he needs to get into that mindset bat as if his life depended on it, put his body on the line and he will be amazed how things turn around,” Ganguly assessed.

Another Indian opener Virender Sehwag was at his destructive best in Australia in 2003-04 tour but has found himself struggling this time around.

Ganguly feels that wickets falling at the other end have been “restricting his mind.”

“For Virender Sehwag, it was a shot too many again and I think losing wickets at the other end is restricting his mind a bit. He is a better batsman with a clear head and if he worries about what happens at the other end he will struggle.

“The early departures of Gambhir and Rahul Dravid add a lot of pressure. Sehwag was at his best in Australia in 2003-04 when he had Aakash Chopra at the other end and looked a different player,” Ganguly opined.

The former skipper also singled out Sachin Tendulkar for the same reason and said a major contribution is needed on his part if India are to fancy their chances in the series.

“Sachin Tendulkar again looked good. His rhythm, as in the last game, went away when so many wickets fell at the other end. He has to find a way to sort that out as the Aussie bowlers are in terrific form and a major contribution from him is important if India are to get back into the series,” he said.

Ganguly said the return of skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni to form has undoubtedly been the biggest positive for India on this tour so far.

“For India, the biggest positive was the skipper, M S Dhoni. Many times he has been found wanting with the bat in these conditions, but he played superbly. He is not the most technical of batsmen but he has other qualities that help him through and he found a way to get runs yesterday.

“He waited a lot on the back foot and put the ball away every time the bowlers pitched short. The most important thing for him will be to follow up with a good dig under pressure,” he said.

Ganguly said that India should not think too much about their batting collapse on the opening day and instead look to set a target of 250 runs for the hosts in the fourth innings.

“The Indians must realise all is not lost. They should not worry about their 191, and instead look at setting a target of 250, as the Aussies will have to bat fourth. They lost chasing 241 in the fourth innings in Hobart and that can happen again.

“If the Indians think too much about their first innings, they will put too much pressure on themselves and not concentrate on doing things right. To put pressure on the Australians, they will have to bat a lot better than they did yesterday. If they do not, they will be in a tough position in this Test and for the rest of the series,” said Ganguly.

India’s famed batting line-up came a cropper yet again as the visitors were dismissed for 191 in 59.3 overs on a seaming and bouncy pitch at the SCG.

Ganguly said India’s batting was nothing to be proud of and it was not a good day at the office for India.

“The Indians won the toss one I felt both captains didn’t mind losing but their batting was nothing to be proud of. The groundsman did take a lot of grass off the pitch and it was a matter of getting through the first session with no more then two wickets down. The Indians lost far too many early,” he said. (PTI)