Dropped from the Test squad for the first two Test matches against Australia, one would have thought that Gautam Gambhir would be disappointed and low on morale.
But coach Sanjay Bhardwaj begs to differ. Bhardwaj — Gambhir’s childhood coach — says that getting dropped has actually pepped Gambhir on and the lefthanded opener is leaving no stones unturned to ensure that he returns to the national team sooner than later.
Speaking to MAIL T ODAY , Bhardwaj said that Gambhir has called for the services of the former and the two have been having extensive net sessions for close to four hours every day and working on the basics that have gone awry, thanks to the pressures of performing consistently in all the three formats of the game — Tests, ODIs and T20s.
Gambhir is a fighter and the criticism that has come his way actually helped egg him on. I that the selectors have actually woken a sleeping tiger by dropping him and he immediately called me and asked me to start working with him at the nets.
We start training from around 30 in the morning and train for hours every day. The training starts with him knocking the ball, before getting down to facing the machine. The emphasis is on working on the basics. When you non- stop in all three formats, sometimes you tend to get a little loose on your technique. We have started afresh and are trying to get back to the time when he would score runs at ease because of his solid technique,” he said.
Commenting on the sessions they undergo every day, Bhardwaj said: “ We try and work on the defense and the flow of the bat.
Also, we look at the past and present videos of his knocks. At times, it helps when you look at the videos of the innings’ when you have scored runs and then at the knocks when you have failed. You can immediately find the places where you are going wrong.” Bringing an interesting conversation to the fore, Bhardwaj said that the determination in Gambhir’s words after being dropped is what impressed him most. Gambhir told me was that he wants to bat the way he started his career and keep scoring big runs.
“ I just want to concentrate on training and then scoring big runs. I won’t give the critics another chance to talk about my batting,” Gambhir told Bhardwaj.
Having coached Gambhir from an early age, Bhardwaj feels that there are basically three flaws in his batting, which once corrected, will make Gambhir just as destructive as he was before the slump in form.
“ Firstly, his bat is coming down from gully and should come down from slips. If the bat comes down from gully, there is a gap between the bat and the pad when you are meeting the ball and that increases the chances of getting bowled.
“ Secondly, he has been playing the push to third- man a little too much. It is a high- risk shot for a run. I think he should concentrate on playing in the ‘ V’, at least early on in the innings. This is a shot he has adapted to counter the bowling in the shorter formats of the game and we are looking at eliminating it.
“ Thirdly, another problem with him is that his head falls to the off- side when he is playing off his legs and that, at times, can lead to the face of the bat closing earlier and the ball taking the edge of the bat. So the head too needs to be still and towards the ball when the bat meets the ball,” he explained.
Bhardwaj also feels that the problem with Gambhir hasn’t been the loss of form. He feels it is about converting the starts.
“Gambhir has had issues with converting the starts into big scores. It is just a matter of time before he starts scoring heavily,” he signed off.