Hyderabad: India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni on Thursday backed Gautam Gambhir saying the struggling opener is a class player and would soon come out of his lean phase that has plagued his career for a while now.
Dhoni said that it’s the fear of performance and not the fear of failure that has been troubling Gambhir of late.
“He has set high benchmarks for himself but is going through a phase where the fear of performance and the not the fear of failure is troubling him,” Dhoni said after the hosts wrapped up their final training session on the eve of the second Test at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium here.
“He is a solid cricketer and works very hard. He will come good sooner or later,” the India skipper added.
While backing Gambhir to retain one of the opening slots, Dhoni also indicated that man-in-the-waiting, Murali Vijay, will have to wait for some more time before finding a permanent place in the XI.
“He (Gambhir) is our best bet for the opening slot. Vijay has been doing well, as we have seen, but he will have to wait for some more time,” Dhoni told reporters here.
About his own form with the willow, Dhoni said that he has been getting the starts but need to covert the those into big scores.
“I am getting the starts but need to convert them into 50s and 100s,” he said.
Asked about Suresh Raina and Cheteshwar Pujara, the latest entry into the side, Dhoni acknowledged that both are talented and are doing well.
“But let’s not comment after just one match,” he added. Asked how different would India’s approach be from the first Test, Dhoni said, “A lot depended on the kind of wicket in the first Test. Bowlers were not getting the support from the wicket and, apart from Chris Martin’s (spell) for those 30 to 35 minutes, (the bowler could do nothing).”
“There wasn’t much for the spinners or the fast bowlers in the first match. At times, it’s very difficult to take 20 wickets on flat tracks,” Dhoni said.
“But this (Hyderabad) looks to be a good wicket and should have some bounce which is likely to help the batsmen play more freely,” he said.
India’s performance in the second innings hasn’t been that great in recent times and the skipper admitted that.
“It’s a mental barrier and about mindset. But we should not be too bothered about all that,” Dhoni said.
On team composition, Dhoni said, “It’s always good to have the luxury of having five bowlers but we will have to see.”
The Indian skipper also spoke about Ishant Sharma and S Sreesanth, saying both are different from each other.
“Sreesanth blows a fraction up to the batsmen while Ishant bowls a little short of length, a little back off the track,” Dhoni said.
The India skipper was fulsome in his praise for Harbhajan Singh and VVS Laxman -- the two rescued India from a precarious situation with a record 163-run partnership for the ninth wicket and denied New Zealand a certain victory.
“We were under some pressure after losing five wickets but Bhajji and Laxman showed great character,” Dhoni said.