New Delhi: With the Test series against England just round the corner, India opener Gautam Gambhir is looking to get back to the basics and work on his game with childhood coach Sanjay Bhardwaj to root out the technical flaws in his batting.
Set to return to the country in the next couple of days, Gambhir has requested his coach to make a seven to 10 days plan where the duo would work on his batting technique.
Having lost the silken touch, which made him one of India’s most prolific scorer in 2009, Gambhir wants to get his act right going into the gruelling season where India play England, Pakistan and Australia at home before going to South Africa at the end of 2013.
Speaking to MAIL TODAY, Bhardwaj said that they have been talking over phone but didn’t get the time to hit the training and were looking at the short break between the CLT20 and the England series to work on Gambhir’s technique.
“We have been discussing his flaws over the phone, but haven’t really got the time to work physically on the mistakes as he has been busy playing in different tournaments. But he called me a couple of days back and asked me to chalk out a schedule in-between the CLT20 and the series against England, to erase the flaws and sweat it out on the ground,” he said.
Bhardwaj feels that the basic issue with Gambhir’s batting has been his bat lift and wrong shot selection.
“Gambhir has gone a bit awry in the fundamentals. The bat should come down from an angle where the first slip is standing but in his case, it comes from third slip, thereby creating a gap between bat and pad. In some cases, he closes the face of the bat before it meets the ball – leading to top-edges and nicks."
“Also, the reason for his failure in the longer version of the game has been his refusal to play in the ‘V’ early on in the innings. With slips and catching fielders around the bat, playing square of the wicket can cost a batsman early in the innings, especially on bouncy wickets,” he said.
“One shot that has been detrimental to him has been the dab shot to third-man – a percentage shot for not more than a run in most cases. We have time and again spoken about it, but he seems to have a natural tendency to play the high-risk shot.” Another area which Bhardwaj feels that Gambhir needs to work on is his head falling over in the early stages of the innings.
“Gambhir has always had a still head while batting, but recently I have noticed that his head falls over early in the innings, making him vulnerable to the incoming delivery and also prone to getting lbw. While class batsmen like Ricky Ponting too have this issue, we need to work on this at the earliest,” he said.
But most importantly, Bhardwaj, who has seen him grow, feels that Gambhir’s biggest problem is his approach to life.
“Gambhir is a guy of high self-esteem and at times that has been a deterrent for him on the field. Failure to score in a couple of innings makes him feel that he will lose his place in the team and ends up putting additional pressure on himself,” he said.
The problem of uncertainty isn’t something new for Gambhir. He has himself confessed that he isn’t certain of his place in the Indian line-up and is always anxious to score runs and seal his spot in the team.
“I am insecure, if I don’t score in a few matches, I feel I will get dropped but that’s okay as it helps me to not get complacent and give my 100 per cent,” Gambhir had said.
FROM THE COACH’S EYE
Given below are the key mistakes pointed by Sanjay Bhardwaj that is costing Gambhir a long run in the middle:
Bat coming down from third slip instead of first slip, leaving a gap between bat and pad.
Favours the shots square of the wicket rather than playing in the ‘ V’ early on.
Head falling over early on, making him vulnerable to the incoming delivery as also prone to being adjudicated lbw.
Too many attacking shots early in the innings rather than consolidating and taking his time.