Bridgetown (Barbados): India vice captain Gautam Gambhir on Wednesday made himself available for the team`s first Super Eight stage match of the Twenty20 World Cup on Friday and said he was eager to contribute with the bat.
Gambhir missed the group match against South Africa because of a groin injury but the left-hander said he has recover from it and was raring to go.
"I am fit and feeling strong. I am looking forward to the big games. These are really important matches and I am looking forward to play a big role in that," said Gambhir, after a long hit at the nets at the Three Ws Oval here.
"You have seen how one player can change the course of the game when Suresh Raina scored a hundred against South Africa. I want to contribute," said the Delhi player.
Gambhir has been one of India`s most prolific batsmen in recent years and the left-hander said he wanted an encore of his performance in the 2007 Twenty20 World Cup which India won.
"It is always good that you have been scoring in the last one year. The team wants you to score more and more. This is one tournament where you want to really step up and show good form.”
"I am enjoying the challenge and hopefully if I get the same kind of form that I had in 2007 it would be great," he said.
Even though India won the 2007 title, they could not reach the semifinals last year but Gambhir felt India were better prepared for the Super Eights this time round.
"The difference between the last event and this year is that we played Bangladesh and Ireland in England. But this time round we played South Africa who are one of the best sides in the world. So we can take that confidence into the Super Eights," he said.
Gambhir had no issue if the Kensington Oval deck generated pace and bounce on Friday.
"We haven`t played on this wicket so we don`t know how it will play. Obviously, we have heard from people that it has a got a lot more bounce in it than at St Lucia.”
"You cannot go into the match with set ideas just because the wicket is sluggish or fast. Sometimes it works the other way when a guy goes and turns the match around in six overs," said Gambhir.
The left-hander said Indian would play to their strengths rather than worry about what the opposition would do.
"We cannot plan for what the opposition have strategised for us. We will go with our own strengths. We have a good quality set of bowlers who can dismiss the opposition. We also have a set of spinners who are really good. I personally think that a quality spinner is an asset and the quality will show irrespective of what the surface is," he said.
"Our bowling unit has performed well. Zaheer (Khan), Harbhajan (Singh) and Ashish (Nehra) have done really well. They look to dismiss the opposition. That is the only way of how you can restrict the teams. By getting wickets it gives us the momentum and sets up the match for us," he said.
Gambhir felt there was not much difference between the Super Eight teams.
"There is not much difference between the three sides as in T20 every team looks to attack. Everybody would like to win the title. So the competition is going to be stiff hereon," he added.
He said Australia would be aching to win the this title after having failed in two ventures earlier.
"Australia haven`t done well in the T20s. The first time they lost in the semis and the next year they did not qualify. So you can expect Australia to come back really strong. They have got some quality players in their side who can change the course of the match," said Gambhir.