Gambhir feels the solution to India's persisting overseas woes is to give U-19 players early exposure to bouncy tracks
Gautam Gambhir feels it's high time the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) organise adequate overseas tours for U-19 teams. Gambhir, one of the casualties of India's back-to-back overseas whitewashes in England and Australia, feels that younger players must get the required exposure for the team's successful rebuilding process in the wake of Rahul Dravid's retirement, and the imminent departure of other senior batsmen.
Gautam Gambhir avoids a short ball during the fourth Test against
Australia at Adelaide Oval on January 25. Pic/Getty Images
"I think the way forward for the Indian cricket team is to reassess all the mistakes and learn from them. The youngsters from U-19 need to be exposed to more tours of England and Australia, where they get to play on fast bouncy tracks something we aren't used to in the sub-continent," Gambhir, playing mentor to budding college cricketers in the Red Bull Campus Cricket initiative, told MiD DAY.
Gambhir admitted that young Indian batsmen haven't shown the required application to bat long hours in Tests. Mahendra Singh Dhoni's side was frequently bowled out inside two sessions in recent overseas tours. "I think the application of body and mind is more important in Test cricket than in any other form of the game. It's important that younger players prove themselves in being able to last out the longer form. I think once these players get the required exposure to tougher conditions, we'll be able to fill in our Test team requirements," said the 30-year-old opener.
Gambhir felt it was important for a young batsman to correct his technique at university level. "While school cricket is all about learning the basics where most take it as a hobby, college cricket is very important as you are moulded into a player who can face any kind of situation. You get to the opportunity to play and compete with a diverse bunch of players from different backgrounds, something you wouldn't get to in school cricket. If school cricket is about learning the right techniques, I think campus cricket is all about gaining mental toughness and physical fitness to perform in any situation," he said.
"I think the quality of cricket played at University level is good. With the help of mentors, talented cricketers will get the opportunity to hone their skills and maybe we can see them break into the Indian Cricket Team," he added.
Dravid is irreplaceable
After his 643-minute marathon at Napier in 2009, Virender Sehwag felt that Gambhir was the New Wall of Indian Cricket. But, Gambhir felt that Dravid is irreplaceable. "Rahul Dravid's retirement has left a void in the team which nobody can fill and the responsibility needs to be shared by each one of us. I think we need to give players a lot of exposure in diverse conditions. By doing that, we will help create a talent pool which will help fill any void created when senior cricketers retire," he said.
"The ideals someone like Dravid instils in the team are practice, perseverance and patience. Most youngsters who are either on the brink of playing for the national team or have recently started playing lack the patience. We need to help develop these qualities in college level players -- to not be impatient and throw away their wicket in a cricket match," added Gambhir.
Gambhir said that he enjoys batting with Virat Kohli: "Since both of us play for Delhi we understand each other well and we have had some partnerships that have helped the team's cause. Virat performed well on a tough tour and played crucial knocks in Australia." Kohli and Gambhir average 70.48 in ODIs, and have been involved in six hundred-run partnerships.
U-19 boys off to Oz
India's U-19 team will play a four-nation series (Australia, India, England and New Zealand) in Townsville, Australia, starting next week. The U-19 World Cup will be held in Queensland this August.