Tuesday, Sep 23, 2014

Yuvi is still India’s greatest match-winner, says Gautam Gambhir

yuvrajapm India batsman Yuvraj Singh has faced vehement criticism for his dismal performance in the recently concluded ICC T20 World Cup in Bangladesh. (AP)
Press Trust of India | New Delhi | Posted: April 9, 2014 1:46 am | Updated: April 9, 2014 11:34 am

Yuvraj Singh has received a lot of criticism for his knock in the final of the World T20 but a few of his former team mates have come out in support of him.

Gautam Gambhir voiced his support, saying: “had there been an IPL auction today, he would have still gone” for Yuvraj and called him India’s “greatest match-winner” in limited overs cricket.

Yuvraj has been castigated by fans for his 21-ball 11 that was one of the primary reasons for India’s World T20 defeat against Sri Lanka, last Sunday. “At the IPL auctions, we were really close to getting him before RCB won the bid.

“Let me put it this way. Had there been auction today, the Kolkata Knight Riders would have bid for him in the same aggressive manner. Yuvraj according to me is our greatest match-winner till date,” Gambhir. Asked if the team is becoming overtly dependent on Virat Kohli as it was with Sachin Tendulkar in the early 90’s and Gambhir’s answer was an emphatic no.

“That’s never the case. Cricket is a team game and 11 players are out there in the field. The game is won by 11 players and lost by 11 players. It’s not an individual sport,” he said.

But if one man scores 77 out of a total of 130, doesn’t it reflect the over-dependence, Gambhir counter-questioned: “How many deliveries do you get in T20 cricket? 120 balls and not 300 deliveries! It is natural that your Nos 1, 2 and 3 will score more than your Nos 4, 5 and 6.”

Virender Sehwag has shown some form in the zonal phase of Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy T20 and Gambhir was asked as to why he KKR would have gone for Yuvraj and not Sehwag. “Well, it was a part of the strategy and the decision is taken by at least 5-6 people. We wanted Yuvi more and that’s why we bid for him.”

“I have always opening the batting. I have never had any plans of batting in the middle-order. I started my career as an opener and would like to end as an opener,” said Gambhir, when asked about his own plans for a comeback. Gambhir has enjoyed a good zonal leg of Mushtaq Ali T20 Trophy, scoring 162 in five matches with a highest score of 75.

Batting tips

“Obviously, it was a big advantage playing on tougher wickets and it really helped my batting. When it came to flatter wickets, I was really able to go berserk having prepared myself on the tougher tracks,” the 32-year-old said. Talking about IPL, Gambhir was all praise for South African speedster Morne Morkel, terming him the “toughest bowler” he has faced in his international career.

“Morne is the toughest fast bowler that I have faced. I have also played Dale Steyn, Brett Lee and Shoaib Akhtar continued…

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