Tag: Gautam Gambhir

Gautam Gambhir’s arse senses boot

Gautam Gambhir in top form

More often than not, an out of form batsman needs to be treated sensitively and given reassurance. If their confidence returns, they tend to discover it was actually all that was ever absent.

Then again, sometimes a batsman needs the bracing reality check that comes with having someone’s lace holes applied to their backside with a certain degree of force. We get the impression that Gautam Gambhir had reached this stage and so it’s probably in everyone’s interests that India’s selectors have finally dropped him.

It’s the excuse-making. Good batsmen always have a reason why they failed on any particular occasion as this is actually a valuable way of retaining necessary confidence. However, if you don’t have much confidence, this kind of self-delusion serves little purpose and Gambhir over the last year or so has been inhabiting the same territory as Ian Bell back when he used to make so much effort to stick out his chest. Body language is a symptom of confidence, not a cause.

No-one’s fooled by posturing

In fact, it advertises fragility. For example, Kevin Pietersen’s ‘confidence’ is frequently conspicuously brandished, but mentally he’s all peaks and troughs. In contrast, Jonathan Trott does nothing to display that he’s the man, because he doesn’t need – or value – that reassurance. He’s steadier and more resilient.

Admittedly, this is partly because Trott is entirely self-contained – approval or disapproval from others has little effect on him. He simply doesn’t give a shit what anyone thinks. Not in a brash,  aggressive way – it’s more that he’s almost autistically oblivious.

Only Trott’s brain affects Trott’s emotions, so posturing serves him no purpose.

The quest for validation

Gambhir’s not like that. Unlike Trott, or Tendulkar, he accepts public validation and is therefore vulnerable to public disapproval as well.

There’s nothing wrong with having your confidence built on the mood of others, but it can make you vulnerable. The public don’t know how you train, but they do know your past performances. They give you nothing when you’re slaving away and seeing no results, but they love you when you’ve seen success – even if you’ve now started to grow complacent.

There’s a time lag there and it feels like Gambhir has been inhabiting that netherland, his stockpile of acclaim for past glories steadily dwindling without his taking much action to address that.

What next?

Well now that he’s got the heave, Gautam Gambhir will have to fully confront reality. We reckon he’ll be able to do this and we reckon he’ll respond. He’s a pleasingly workmanlike batsman from a nation that produces its fair share of artists. That implies that he is, at heart, a very effective pragmatist.

A word of warning, however. A premature recall will breed only false confidence. The arse kick must propel him sufficiently far from the India team that he has to work hard to get back again.

Where do you stand on Gautam Gambhir?


Cricinfo have published a story with the slightly mischievous headline: “‘We still average 53 as an opening pair’ – Gambhir”.

It’s not much of a statement, but by making it a headline Cricinfo have made it seem like a rather desperate plea. Gautam Gambhir is under pressure and he’s resorting to the kind of talk often heard from England batsmen after a collapse: “There’s some good batsmen in this team. We’re all averaging over 40.”

Statistics only tell you what has already happened, so citing them in your defence smacks of living in the past. After being simply unstoppable in 2008 and 2009, Gambhir averaged 32.75 in 2010, 31.33 in 2011 and 24.77 so far this year. He isn’t pointing to recent stats.

We used to rather like Gambhir. We tipped him for greatness in 2005 (to ourself) and hadn’t particularly changed our mind by 2009. However, since then, he’s given off an air of being rather cosseted.

This might be unfair. We might just be seeing a reasonable batsman getting understandably defensive in the light of less stellar performances. However, it could also be that he grew a bit self-satisfied and developed a sense of entitlement as a consequence.

Earlier in the year, Gambhir made comments about wanting rank turners in India on which the home team would hopefully humiliate tourists. This may have been a reasoned philosophy, but being as it came on the back of personal failures in England and Australia, it actually seemed reactionary and sulky.

We’re going to try and give Gautam the benefit of the doubt. Good players have a tendency to bounce back and perhaps this prolonged lean spell will become another old, meaningless statistic.

Gautam Gambhir wants rank turners in India

Some people seem to think there’s a bit of “yeah, well, see how you like it,” about this. That’s understandable. Gambhir’s had a couple of bad tours, so you can’t really blame him. However, he’d do well to remember that home success doesn’t negate failure away from home. It only highlights it.

However, even if ‘wanting to get your own back’ isn’t the best reason for requesting rank turners for Tests in India, we still agree with what he’s saying. The home team should always be favourites in a Test series. That’s half the point.

Test tours are meant to be hard. That way, if a touring team has any success, everyone knows they’ve done something special. India’s win in England in 2007 relied on brilliant swing bowling, not spin, and was all the more admirable for that fact. England’s win in Australia last winter was built on ‘not being utterly outplayed’ and ‘not crying in a corner’ in sharp contrast to their usual approach to away Ashes series.

Rank turners in India will generally favour the home side, but such pitches would also make anything achieved by tourists more impressive than an accident claims lawyer overlooking a technicality in favour of common sense and conventional morality.

Gautam Gambhir isn’t earning much praise

When Gautam Gambhir twatted his head on the deck

Banging his head two days earlier compelled Gautam Gambhir to send out a morningwatchman. The consensus seems to be that he’s a bit soft. Maybe he is still concussed, maybe he’s genuinely not fit to bat, but he might have stood a better chance of people believing that if he hadn’t already missed a Test this series with a bruised elbow.

We’re currently typing this with what is likely to be a fractured finger. We’re soldiering on despite the fact that precisely no-one is counting on us. For his part, Gambhir must be aware that one or two people would like India to do well.

Test cricket is rarely about the stars aligning so that you can bat exactly as you want. Test cricket is about trying to prevent some arsehole from breaking another of your ribs when the pitch is lumpy and torn to shreds and your team is 400 behind. Great batsmen score runs in that situation.

Gambhir is not a great player. A great player carried out the complex oral manoeuvre of biting his tongue while simultaneously gritting his teeth when asked to open in his place.

The five best batsmen over the next five years

The big names are generally old bastards. Who’s next?

Ross Taylor, New Zealand, age 25

Ross Taylor tends to look like he’s the man who’s going to win the match for New Zealand shortly before doing something slightly spacky. Pretty soon those fifties will become hundreds and those hundreds will become double hundreds.

JP Duminy, South Africa, 25

Duminy has barely started in Test cricket, but has the reassuring habit of being exceptional whatever the format. Twenty20’s just for sloggers, is it? Then why is Duminy so effective. The best batsmen are generally the best batsmen in all forms of the game.

AB de Villiers, South Africa, 25

Yes, he is only 25. There are already bowlers in world cricket who’d sooner try and insert a bat handle into their urethra than bowl at vehement letter-C denier, AB de Villiers.

Michael Clarke, Australia, 28

Recently voted ‘most overrated player’ by readers of the Herald Sun, Michael Clarke must be rated really, really, phenomenally highly. Quite clearly following in the footsteps of Border, Waugh and Ponting as an Aussie captain who’s mint with the bat.

Gautam Gambhir, India, 28

Test average after 18 Tests: 36, with one hundred. Test average in the next nine Tests: 94, with seven hundreds. Gautam Gambhir is up and running.

Gautam Gambhir’s worth getting out

Gautam Gambhir - not shiteSome said that England were unlucky in the first Test that three great batsmen – Virender Sehwag, Sachin Tendulkar and Yuvraj Singh – all fired at the same time.

It wasn’t bad luck. Those batsmen fire as often as they don’t and even if they don’t fire then Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman most likely will.

Or Gautam Gambhir will.

He’s the seventh member of India’s top seven, but on current form he’s the one you most want to get out. Gautam Gambhir positively flayed Australia a month ago and he’s got into double figures in every Test innings this year. He’s averaging 70 in 2008. Today he hit 179 against England at Mohali.

We tipped Gautam Gambhir for greatness back in 2005. You can see this in a post we wrote where we tipped Dheeraj Jadhav for greatness…

Gautam Gambhir against Australia

Gautam Gambhir celebrates a well-judged leaveAnd Gambhir wins!

That seems to be the way this is working. It was four years between Gautam Gambhir’s first and second Test hundreds. Now he’s hit two in two innings.

He’s basically an attacking batsman who doesn’t feel he HAS to attack, which is pretty much what you want in a Test opener. He can career along at near enough a run a ball alongside Virender Sehwag, like he did in the second innings of the last Test, or he can edge along safely like he did today, setting a platform for later mayhem.

He’s someone who knows not to get himself out, but who can impose himself on the opposition too – which is vital. Gambhir and Tendulkar decided they didn’t want Cameron White allowing the main bowlers a breather, so they removed him from the attack via the simple method of repeatedly carting him to the boundary.

Gambhir plays a good game off the field as well. “There was no way he could have got me out” he said about Shane Watson, before rather optimistically trying to encourage Australia to persevere with their part-timers: “The way Katich bowled, a couple of balls really spun.”

Gautam Gamhbir impersonates a cricket ball

Here we see Gautam Gambhir sidling up to a cricket ball in disguise.

[At least we used to, but now the image has been removed…]

If Gautam’s deception is successful, perhaps he’ll get to mate with the ball

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