'You need players like Bhajji in the team'

Gautam Gambhir welcomed the inclusion of Yuvraj Singh and Harbhajan Singh in the World T20 squad.


New Delhi:
Gautam Gambhir is not reading much into being named as vice-captain for the T20 Internationals against New Zealand and the World T20.

"Your responsibilities and commitment towards the team don't change with change in designation. I am not in the team for my vice-captaincy. I am in the team to score runs and win matches for my country," Gambhir said.

Gambhir welcomed the inclusion of Yuvraj Singh and Harbhajan Singh in the squad. "Yuvraj has been a match-winner and it is great to see him back in the team."

"As to whether the mood of the dressing room will be upbeat with Yuvraj coming back, I believe it's not dependent on any particular individual. It is about collective effort which constitutes each and every member of the team," he said.

"I am happy that Harbhajan is in the squad because in big tournaments, you need players like him. He has played 98 Tests and 229 ODIs...He is a big-occasion man."

He seemed a bit miffed when asked whether Piyush Chawla is in the team because he is a "lucky mascot" for the World Cup squad, having been a part of the 2011 team.

"I have never believed in luck and lucky mascots. For me, there is only one thing that can ensure you success at the highest level - hard work. I will always remain a firm believer that there can't be any substitute for sheer hard work."

The senior opener admitted that his recent string of good scores in Sri Lanka will act as a morale booster, but that will be of little consequence when they play the World Twenty20.

"World T20 will be a different ball game altogether but we have played so many times in Sri Lanka that we are aware about the conditions there."

Talking about the necessity to adapt while having to quickly switch formats, Gambhir said that the two T20 Internationals against New Zealand will be crucial.

"Yes, we will be playing Test cricket next but then we will be playing a couple of T20 Internationals. Also once, we reach Sri Lanka, we will be playing a few more T20 practice games.

Before the tournament starts, we would have played four to five T20 matches and that would serve as good enough preparation for the World Cup."

Gambhir was confident that the younger crop of Indian players would make full use of the opportunities, which they would be getting due to Rahul Dravid's retirement.

"It's not easy to replace someone like Rahul Dravid. But if you talk about how life will be without Dravid's presence in the dressing room after 16 long years, then the same question would have arisen when greats of yesteryears had also retired. I wish, whoever replaces Dravid, is able to make full use of the opportunities," he stated.

Gambhir didn't name any particular player as to who he thinks would be an ideal No.3 batsman in Tests. "We have lot of talented batsmen. It can be Virat, (Ajinkya) Rahane or (Cheteshwar) Pujara all of whom have done well."

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