Exactly a year ago,life was very different for Gautam Gambhir. He had just led Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) to the IPL crown and was widely considered as MS Dhonis heir apparent in the Indian team. Fast forward a circle around the sun,and Gambhirs world has turned upside down.
A different KKR captain hit the nets at the Eden Gardens on Sunday,one who is no longer considered good enough for the Indian Test team and one who is walking a thin line as far as limited-overs cricket is concerned. While his performances in the forthcoming IPL season however good or bad they may be are unlikely to help him much with his international career,it certainly does present him with the opportunity to redeem his reputation.
It was Gambhirs first training session with his IPL side this season and he worked overtime in the nets keen to iron out the rust. He sought out his long-time mate Rajat Bhatia and asked him to bowl at a particular length. Initially,he seemed to struggle for timing and also appeared to be a little unsure with his footwork.
However,just the fact that he was there was positive news for the defending champions,considering it meant that Gambhir indeed had recovered fully from the bout of jaundice that had ruled him out of the final Test against Australia,when he was called as a replacement for injured Shikhar Dhawan.
Coach Trevor Bayliss had a long look at Gambhirs batting and came up with a few suggestions about his current stance and lack of footwork. The big challenge for Gambhir,according to many in the KKR camp,is for him to forget the lows of the last few months and start afresh. And if Bhatia is to be believed,then Gambhir is in just the mindset to begin anew. The biggest change I have noticed in him (after he was dropped from the Indian team) is that he is working even harder than before, Bhatia said.
Last season,in their victorious campaign,Gambhir led by example. He was the top scorer with 590 runs at 36.87. Last season just proved how important Gambhir is to the success of this side. He guided the team all along. Naturally,his presence lifts the whole unit, said Bhatia.
This time around,though,Gambhirs task to uplift both himself and his side will be a lot harder. This IPL is sure to test Gambhirs character.