Adelaide : Indian openier Gautam Gambhir said Sunday that there was no lack of motivation and the team was focussed on winning the fourth and final Test starting here Tuesday even though Australia holds a 3-0 lead in the Border Gavaskar Trophy.
“Every Test is special. You have to be motivated. There is no lack of motivation. You shouldn’t be playing cricket if you are not motivated,” said Gambhir after a practice session at the Adelaide Oval.
Gambhir said poor performance in two away series doesn’t reflect the true class of the Indian team, which was the No.1 Test team six months back.
“The thing is, you don’t get bad in one or two series. Just two series back, we were the world’s best. That’s when your character comes out – you try to back each other and support each other. Back your own team when the entire squad is down,” he added.
Gambhir said India’s win at the Adelaide will be more satisfying for him, more than even Sachin Tendulkar’s impending 100th international hundred.
He said the 0-3 score line in the series was more painful than Tendulkar not getting his 100th international century.
“It’s more satisfying for me if India wins the Test than if Tendulkar scores his 100th century. When you play for the country, you want the team to win and not individuals to get records.
“The 0-3 scoreline hurts far more than Tendulkar not getting his 100. If India can make it 1-3, it would be far satisfying than if Tendulkar gets his hundred (and India ends up still losing),” he said.
Gambhir admitted that an inexperienced young Australian bowling attack has been the best.
“In England, there was a lot of lateral movement. Here, they had an inexperienced attack. But they have been tremendous and never let us off the hook. They always kept us under pressure, even with three seamers and a spinner,” said Gambhir.
“They have kept coming at us. There were no easy runs even in the middle session. In the first session, it always does a bit but then it gets flatter.
“Still, (give) credit to them, they were hitting those areas even in the middle session and not allowing us to score freely.
“Indians are known to bat freely. We have a middle order who are boundary-hitters. But they never let us hit those boundaries,” he said.
Gambhir said the turnaround for the team wa around the corner.
“It’s a new Test and we have to be positive. There’s a month and a half of cricket still left in the series and we have to look to do well here and carry the momentum in one-dayers.
“I haven’t seen the wicket but they have given us sporting wickets in this series…
“One good session could turn things around. We have seen it in India where we were made to follow on and went on to win the Test,” he said.
Gambhir admitted that he was not happy with his form and he was nervous at the start of the series.
“The conditions are very different. There’s a lot of bounce. To start with, you are far more nervous and in anxiety poke at the ball. Gradually, you get the feel of bowlers and what’s their game plan.
“I hadn’t known it at the start of the series. Then you start preparing differently and work out the areas where you could score runs.
“It was disappointing initially but then after Sydney, I felt far more comfortable in first innings in Perth,” he said.
Asked if he ever though of changing his batting technique, Gambhir said: “Whatever your game plans are, you need to stick to it. You can’t change it in the middle of Tests or you get confused.
“In international cricket, you need to have a game plan where you score runs, what’s your strength, what you need to be careful about. Test cricket is about percentage cricket. You need to cut down on a lot of areas where the bowlers can get you out.”
Asked if Ben Hilfenhaus, his nemesis in the series, was a top-notch right-arm swing bowler, Gambhir said: “He made his debut in Mohali and played well. But it’s his own backyard and the difference is in conditions. You can judge him after how he performs in the sub-continent. But he’s bowled very well and he’s their main bowler who has always taken wickets.”
Gambhir also said that it has been a collective failure and it was not right to single oput players.
“It’s not one or two players. Sometimes openers don’t give the start and middle order does well. On other occasions, openers start well and middle order disappoints. But things can turn around quickly,” he said.