Nothing can be taken for granted in sport and few would know this better than Gautam Gambhir.
Once the batting mainstay of the Indian team, the southpaw is passing through one of the toughest chapters of his career. Gambhir, who played a crucial role with his 97 to help India win the 2011 World Cup final against Sri Lanka, has been out of the national team for over a year now.
Nevertheless, the Delhi dasher is determined as ever to return to the India fold. He spoke to MiD DAY over the phone while attending the Red Bull Campus Cricket semi-final in Chandigarh yesterday.
Personally, how crucial is the Irani Cup match (from February 9) for you?
It is just another game of cricket… nothing is more or less important. Every game is as important as any other game.
How have you kept yourself motivated since your time away from the Indian team?
I love playing cricket and that itself is my biggest and only motivation. I can't say when I will make a comeback, but I have to keep scoring runs, keep working hard and keep improving as a player. That is what I can do and I am looking to do just that.
With India openers (Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan) not doing too well at the moment, do you view this as a window of opportunity for a comeback?
No. It's not like that. I am not competing against anyone. That is not how I look at the situation. I only compete with myself. I need to better myself every time I step on to the field. I don't give too much relevance to whether a guy is not doing well or if the Indian openers are not doing well. I want to keep improving and better myself in every game.
What has this tough phase taught you?
The biggest learning as a sportsperson is that you need to get used to the ups and downs and keep moving forward rather than looking back. You have to keep improving in every aspect of your game and your fitness. It is important to keep looking up because what's gone is gone.
What do you have to say about Virender Sehwag's recent statement that he'd like to open the innings with his 'best' partner once again?
That's his call. I can't say anything about it. It was his decision to get into the middle order. But now if he thinks he wants to get back to the opening position, it would be very exciting. It would be fun to open the innings with him again. We had some great partnerships and some great success stories in the middle. It would be great fun if we can open the innings in future.
This is the first time that uncapped Indian players have been included in the IPL auction (Feb 12-13). Your thoughts...
It is going to be interesting. There would be a lot of players in the auction and we need to strategise well as to what combination we are looking for. Hopefully, KKR (Kolkata Knight Riders) can do a good job in the auction as well.
Will the sudden retirement of Kevin Pietersen garner more interest in the IPL auction?
It depends on the franchises. I don't know how much interest franchises have (in him). It depends what kind of combinations they are looking for. The auction is very unpredictable. So, let's see how it goes.